UK’s Energy System at Risk of Attack by Russian State

Britain risks being held to ransom by Russia unless the vulnerable energy system is fortified. the Government has been warned amid escalating tensions with Europe’s main gas supplier.

As relations with Russia sour. energy infrastructure bosses been told by secutiry officials to bolster their defences to guard against a crippling cyber attack on power plants or the national grid.

Industry experts have today responded by warning ministers to address the UK’s growing reliance on foreign energy imports. which could allow Russia to use its gas market dominance as a political weapon.

Russia supplies around a third of Europe’s gas. and its record exports are expected to increase. Algy Cluff. a North Sea oil veteran whose Cluff Resources firm still operates in the North Sea. warned that Britain could “so easily be held to ransom“ by Russia.

Mr Cluff called on the Government to prioritise Britain’s own gas resources. both in the North Sea and onshore. as part of a growing chorus of pleas for ministers to act.

The bad weather could prove not the only ‘Beast from the East’ if we get this wrong as a nation.“ he said.

Although the UK import relatively little from Russia directly it is still more vulnerable to dramatic market price shocks than other European countries after the shutdown of its main gas storage facility at Rough.

Tomas Marzec-Manser. a gas market expert at ICIS. said: “In the next fortnight the Dutch government will slash permitted natural gas production at their massive Groningen field. That means Gazprom will fill that gap and. like it or not. more Russian gas will come to the British gas market.“ he said.

The gas market was able to weather a second sweep of freezing temperatures over the weekend in part because the “Beast from the East“ brought record wind power output which cut the need for gas-fired power plants.

Wind turbines met over a third of the UK’s electricity demand on Saturday and helped cut the use of gas-fired power plants to just a fifth of overall demand. The gas price for Monday is 74 pence a therm. which is well above the November average of 54 pence a therm.

 

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