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How secure are UK gas supplies?

A gas tanker at the harbor of Ras Laffan is filled near Doha in Qatar

North Sea gas reserves are dwindling, so the UK imports a large proportion of its natural gas. In 2009, 45% of the natural gas used in the UK was imported, and this figure is expected to reach 69% by 2019. This growing dependence on imports poses a potential risk to the security of the UK's gas supply.

Three quarters of the gas imported into the UK arrives via pipelines from Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands. The other quarter is imported by sea in liquefied form. Importing a high proportion of its gas means that the UK has to compete on the world market for supplies.

Demand from emerging economies

The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects demand for gas consumption in emerging economies to overtake mature economies by 2030. The UK Government has warned that remaining heavily dependent on imported fossil fuels could expose the UK to the risk of supply shortage and price volatility.

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