Britain will face even HIGHER gas and petrol prices on top of current soaring bills if Russia invades Ukraine
By Sourced Externally
January 24, 2022
Britain could be forced to contend with record-breaking prices for gas and petrol if the fear of a Russian invasion of Ukraine becomes a reality, ministers have been told.
Government officials are concerned that Russia will restrict its provision of gas to European countries in the face of Western sanctions should an invasion of Ukraine take place.
Europe relies on Russia for around 35 per cent of its natural gas, the bulk of which comes through pipelines including Yamal, which crosses Belarus and Poland to Germany, Nord Stream 1, which goes directly to Germany, and routes through Ukraine.
Although Britain gets its gas from other sources, it would still be confronted with sky-high prices if Russia decided to restrict the flow of gas to Europe as the wholesale price of the resource would balloon.
‘Unlike some countries the UK hardly imports any Russian gas, but like all countries we are exposed to rising wholesale prices, which would be a significant issue if Russia further restricted supply,’ one senior official told The Times.
It comes as British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab yesterday promised Britain would impose harsh sanctions on Russia should President Vladimir Putin authorise an invasion.
Raab’s promise came after top U.S. and Russian diplomats failed on Friday to make a major breakthrough in talks to resolve the crisis over Ukraine.
‘There’ll be very serious consequences if Russia takes this move to try and invade but also install a puppet regime,’ British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab told Sky News.
Britain was self-sufficient for natural less than 20 years ago – but now imports more than half of it from Europe including some from Russia
Russia has linked easing Europe’s gas crisis with approving the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which when built with make land in Germany, which is heavily reliant on Russia for its energy needs.
British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab yesterday promised Britain would impose harsh sanctions on Russia should President Vladimir Putin authorise an invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.
Europe relies on Russia for around 35 per cent of its natural gas, the bulk of which comes through pipelines including Yamal, which crosses Belarus and Poland to Germany, Nord Stream 1, which goes directly to Germany, and routes through Ukraine (building of Nord Stream pipeline north-west of St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, April 9, 2010)
Europe’s gas markets are linked by a network of interconnecting pipelines, and while some countries have cut their reliance on Russian gas over the years, many would be unable to satisfy demand should Russia decide to slash their supply.
‘It would be difficult for Europe to stomach sanctions which effectively cut off Russian gas supply, or at least a large portion of these flows, given the region´s dependency on Russian gas and the ongoing energy crisis,’ said analysts at ING.
About half of British gas supplies come from the North Sea and a third through pipelines from Norway, with the remaining supply of LNG (liquified natural gas) imported via sea.
Other European countries are not so lucky – Germany relies on Russia for up to 40 per cent of its gas imports, and Nordic countries Finland and Sweden even more dependent.
And if Russia should decide to restrict supply to its European dependents in the face of harsh economic sanctions over an invasion of Ukraine, the countries would struggle to find an alternative option.
Norway, the second largest supplier of gas to Europe, is delivering natural gas to Europe at maximum capacity and that can’t replace any missing supplies from Russia, its prime minister said this week.
A rise in gas and petrol prices in the UK as a result of a Russian decision to restrict gas provisions to Europe would only exacerbate Britain’s ongoing energy crisis.
Ovo CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick said the impact of soaring wholesale gas prices will be ‘an enormous crisis for 2022’, saying families could be hit with £2,000 bills.
Fears of runaway household bills in the new year have been mounting since rising gas prices began bankrupting suppliers in September.
Since then, they have rocketed from 54p per therm of gas to a staggering £4.50.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is preparing for crunch talks with energy bosses today to try to solve the spiralling crisis.
It comes as British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss released documents which accused Russia of seeking to install a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine, and said Russian intelligence officers had been in contact with a number of former Ukrainian politicians as part of plans for an invasion.
The British foreign ministry declined to provide evidence to back its accusations, which came at a time of high tensions between Russia and the West over Russia’s massing of troops near its border with Ukraine.
The release of the documents led Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab to issue a warning to Vladimir Putin yesterday in which he promised harsh consequences should an invasion of Ukraine take place.
Appearing on Sky News, he said: ‘We are standing shoulder to shoulder [with European countries, Nato and the US], saying there will be very serious consequences if Russia takes this move to try and invade and also install a puppet regime.
‘We wouldn’t telegraph all of the measures we would take, but it is important that this very clear message, not just from the UK but from all NATO and other interested countries around the world who want to uphold the rule of law, that there will be very serious, severe economic consequences.
‘It will obviously involve a range of financial and economic sanctions. We wouldn’t telegraph those in advance, but you can rest assured that the Foreign Secretary and the Defence Secretary will be liaising with all of our partners and engaging, as we have done for many months, to make sure the response is robust and concerted.’
The Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed the British allegation as ‘disinformation,’ accusing NATO of ‘escalating tensions’ over Ukraine and insisted that Moscow have insisted they have no plans to invade.
Meanwhile in Washington, the U.S. State Department announced it was ordering the departure of eligible family members from Embassy Kyiv due to the threat of Russian military action.
U.S. President Joe Biden has begun considering options for boosting America’s military assets in the region, senior administration officials said, after meeting top national security aides at his Camp David retreat on Saturday.
The New York Times said Biden was mulling plans to send 1,000 to 5,000 troops to Eastern European countries, with the possibility of increasing the number should tensions flare further.
A senior administration official declined to confirm the numbers on Sunday but said ‘we are developing plans and we are consulting with allies to determine options moving forward.’