Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Have We Enough Gas to See Us Through the Winter?

click to enlarge
(to help you the UK is bottom left)

I was listening to Radio5Live during lunch and there was a discussion about gas. The question asked was 'Have we enough gas to see us through this winter?'

The answer from the studio guests was yes but I thought I'd investigate a little further because of one comment a guest made.

The UK used to receive all its gas from the North Sea but that is no longer the case as supplies dwindle. We now receive gas from Europe and further afield, although at present Norway is our main supplier.

Norway has a vast store of gas which they sell to other countries.

France also stores gas and is currently expanding their facilities while Germany has the biggest storage facility in Europe. Other European countries store gas (as you can see from the graph above).

The UK contains the only oil producing country in Europe - yes that's Scotland. Yet, since the 1970s, no government has made arrangements to store gas for our use in the colder months. We have no gas stored for our own consumption.

The UK has no gas storage facilities (although they are being considered now) and therefore, we have to import gas at peak prices, while other countries buy it during the summer months when prices are low, store it, then sell it to us at exorbitant rates during winter. That's the reason our gas prices are so high and will become higher.

All too often I say to myself these days 'why does that surprise me?' This does surprise me, it angers me too. This is a true example of the incompetence of our politicians in the last 25+ years. They have no concern for the people of these islands and what better illustration do we need to show this. Our leaders are quite prepared for many to struggle to pay gas prices and watch other put their health at risk because they just can't afford to keep warm. Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows you must store essentials, be it food, gas, electricity or other forms of fuel.

Are you going to vote for people who treat us with such disdain? I'm certainly not.

I'm fortunate though, I can vote for a party which, many years ago, proposed gas storage as an issue of urgency and great importance. They were met with short shrift from Westminster who were more concerned at pleasing the south of England. If the SNP's suggestion had been acted upon, we wouldn't be paying the high prices we're paying today - none of us.

While I'm writing about energy, I thought it may interest you to know that there are a few wind turbines in this area. A friend sees some from her window. They've only turned twice in the last two weeks. EUReferendum mentioned this a couple of days ago and the latest one is here. As Richard says seems like we're more reliant on coal at present and that won't please the climate changers. It looks as if we can't rely on wind either to keep Scotland from darkness doesn't it.

I foresee a rethink about the installation of more wind turbines. If any politician is brave enough to stick their head above the parapet that is.


Quiet_Man said...

Have We Enough Gas to See Us Through the Winter?


subrosa said...

True QM. We have government who don't have the basic sense to store it.

Quiet_Man said...

Buy a woodburning stove as well as a couple of calor gas camping heaters as well as an axe and/or a chainsaw.

If we run out at least you'll stand a chance.

The Filthy Engineer said...

I must be able to read your mind. I've just posted on useless wind turbines 5 minutes ago.

Catosays said...

Wind turbines, the most useless, most expensive piece of kit there is.

INCOMING!!!!!!! said...

SR in case noone has noticed a selective programme of extinguishing streetlighting seems to have started to cut the energy bills for councils. I also have my suspiscions about the power knockout we have had here in the smoke. Looks like we could be heading for the BOGS life I posted about earlier. Beyond Organisational and Governmental Systems.

subrosa said...

QM I've thought about a wood burning stove but I've two fireplaces so I'm not badly off.

subrosa said...

Oh FE, wonderful. Now you can tell me what I was thinking half an hour ago! I'm off to read your post.

subrosa said...

They're proving to be right enough Cato. Mind you, they've made billions for some.

subrosa said...

Haven't noticed here as yet Incoming, but I haven't been off main roads for a couple of weeks due to the weather. I'll take note once I can get about more easily.

banned said...

Would have thought it was up to the gas supply companies to provide sufficient storage facilities. Got no gas meself, nor open fires though. Might invest in a couple of Gaz stoves though.

Anonymous said...

Good post SR. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to live in a country where the government actually spent spome time running the country instead of telling people all over the world how to run theirs.

The Tories need take no joy from this. As you point out for the last 25 years other countries have been preparing for this, but no, we didn't need to bother, and anyway Mrs Thatcher or Mr Blair were always far too busy trailing around after whichever president of America like little lap dogs, showing the lesser beings who were not Anglo-Saxon, English speaking how things should be done.

What a bloody joke.

Incidentally, does Scotland have enough gas for the winter? Yes.

subrosa said...

I don't use my open fires banned, I've converted them to... wait for it... gas lol. Mind you they could easily be returned to natural fuel.

Gaz stoves are a good idea. Mine is oldish and it smells a bit but one I was roasting beside recently was a new model with no odour, or very little, or maybe it was the MacAllan dumbing my senses.

subrosa said...

Yes we do Tris, but unfortunately we're unable to store any because, in case you've forgotten, it's the UK's oil, not ours.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

I like wind turbines. A small domestic one, well placed and efficient, can provide all the house's needs and sell power to the grid.

subrosa said...

Aye they're fine if you're not in a sheltered part WW. I've seen domestic ones and they do emit a hum which I would find annoying. All of them do I understand.

Sir Henry Morgan said...

I've got to disagree with you over the incompetence question.

Even incompetents get things right occasionally, but this bunch gets things wrong every single time.

I can only conclude from that that it is deliberate. Many of the decisions made over the past 30 years have been truly astounding in their wrongness.

So what is the game being played by all the major parties? Yes - they want to wreck Britain ... that's the easy bit. The hard bits are WHY are they doing this, and who's pulling their strings?

subrosa said...

Oh Henry, you ask some difficult questions to which I could give you many answers such as the New World Order, the Bilderburg Group etc.

Incompetence was perhaps a poor choice of language for which I apologise. Cunning may be more acceptable in the sentence.

Amusing Bunni said...

This is very bad for all of you, Subrosa. I can't believe the gov't would be that STUPID, sounds like something mayor daley in Chicago would do. He has sold all the parking meter rights, and now he wants to SELL OUR LAKE WATER! So, we'll be paying lots for water while they do who knows what with it....just like the cunning jerks did with you all.

They also do that here with "peoples gas" They should have bought when it was cheap, but they didn't, so our rates are predicted to go up 25% this winter. Very trying times. Stay warm all.

Fitaloon said...

The UK does store gas both onshore and offshore. The Rough field stores gas and could supply up to 10% of UK requirements.http://www.centrica-sl.co.uk/index.asp?pageid=22&year=Latest.
Also we store at other onshore facilities (Hornsea, Halt Moor etc) and at LNG plants.
Typically during the past couple of years the problem has been over supply rather than under supply.

subrosa said...

That storage facility is less than a month old Fitaloon. According to the graph store less than 5% of our gas.

So you're saying we have never imported gas in the past 30 years?

The has consumption here in the past week has increased by 30%. Do we have enough to store 30% of normal consumption. I found it hard to find figures which were understandable.

My point of the post was we don't store our excess gas but sell it. That's because we don't have enough storage. Then some of these countries sell it back in times of our need.

Can't remember the name of the chap on radio on Monday who was the expert but he wasn't a politician.

Happy New Year to you.

subrosa said...

Bunni, where our North Sea oil and gas are concerned respective governments really have made a real mess of things.

Mind you they say there's hardly any left now so they're building more gas storage. That will push the price up in the summer months too because the more demand the higher cost.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

A number of years back Gascon (I forget the actual name - Gascon is probably my euphemism for it) was created from the the upper echelons of British Gas to look after the upstream production and marketing from the gas fields.

British Gas became at this juncture a buyer of gas and an administrator of the domestic market, while Gascon were free to play the commodity market and decide who got the gas produced by the UK fields and how much they paid for it. At this stage the market decided the price, not the cost relative to production or the cost that could be afforded by the UK domestic market. And, due to the fact the UK has only one major gas supplier, British Gas, when allied to the fact that they can only buy their supplies through Gascon, means that whatever the proportion of domestically produced gas to imported Gascon's profits are
guaranteed and not effected by consumer pressures that are normally aimed at the big six power suppliers. - They, of course, use the hikes in 'market prices' as the excuse to cover their price rises.

It might also be wise to consider, the cheapest way of 'storing' gas for a producer of natural gas is simply to leave it where it is. Until such time as shortages or increases in demand raise the value of their stock. Then you have a win -win situation for everybody.

Except that is for the consumers - but who gives a monkey's cuss for them; provided they're dumb and apathetic enough to put up with it.

subrosa said...

Thanks for that Crinkly. I too think it was Gascon.

As for us being dumb and apathetic we're being programmed to be exactly that.

Not so long ago my supplier increased my DD by nearly 100%. When I phoned to ask why and explain I now had a boiler which reputedly saved at least 40% of my old one I was told 'Ah but gas prices have gone up 60% since then so you would be paying that much more'.

He was a nice lad, the one reading from his script. When I asked if he could give me the dates of the increases and the percentage amounts he was silent.

Then I said I may be of more mature years but my brain still tells me when I'm being conned.

We parted on friendly terms though. I'm still exasperated there's nothing I can do other than turn my heating down and be cold, which would be daft.

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