National Grid today issued its fourth gas shortage alert so far this year, blaming a sharp drop in the supply of gas from a giant field off Norway.
Until the last two weeks, National Grid, had issued only one alert, in March 2006. The operator gave the warning today after Shell stopped production at Ormen Lange, its main Norwegian Sea field, which, at full capacity, is expected to supply Britain with up to a fifth of its gas. Shell blames bad weather on the closure, which occurred on Saturday, and said that it did not yet know when production would resume.
I guess we should have expected trouble after Gordon Brown tempted fate by pledging that the UK's gas supplies would not run out during the current cold snap. However, in some areas, a thaw is being reported, so Brown may well be able to deliver on his "pledge". We will not run out of gas until after the current cold snap.
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