Shell chief warns energy may need to be rationed this winter as Russia cuts gas supplies
Britain and Europe may need energy rationing this winter as Russia cuts gas supplies, a Shell chief has warned.
Ben van Beurden predicted a “difficult winter” as Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine sent European nations scrambling for natural gas supplies for the cold months ahead.
This pushed up prices for consumers and businesses, exacerbating the cost-of-living crisis.
Warning: Shell boss Ben van Beurden predicts ‘tough winter’ as Putin’s invasion of Ukraine prompts European nations to scramble for natural gas supplies for cold months ahead
The Nord Stream-1 gas pipeline from Russia to Western Europe is closed for repairs for ten days.
If, as some fear, it does not reopen, the EU may struggle to meet its goal of having 80 percent of its storage facilities full by November 1. Stocks are 62.6 percent full.
Van Beurden told an industry conference in Oxford: “It’s going to be a really tough winter in Europe.
“Some countries will be better off than others, but we will all face a very significant escalation in energy prices.”
He said that in the worst-case scenario, Britain and Europe would have to ration energy consumption.
Continental Europe normally relies on Russia for 40% of its gas needs, and while it aims to phase out this supply in the coming years, it remains heavily dependent on it.
The UK uses much less – Russian imports accounted for just 4 per cent of gas consumption in 2021.
But it is not immune to the crisis, as it is still vulnerable to disruptions in energy markets that have pushed gas and oil prices sharply higher since the war began.
Regulator Ofgem has already raised the energy price cap this year and is set to do so again in October.
Elsewhere, French President Emmanuel Macron warned citizens to prepare to turn off street lights to save energy if Russia shuts off gas taps.
French President Emmanuel Macron (pictured Thursday during a Bastille Day parade in Paris) has warned citizens to prepare to turn off street lights to save energy if Russia shuts off gas taps.
In a Bastille Day speech yesterday, Macron said: “The summer, the beginning of autumn will be very difficult. Russia uses energy, like food, as a weapon of war. We have to prepare for the scenario when we have to do without Russian gas completely.”
He said the energy-saving plan would start with turning off public lights at night.
Germans were warned yesterday that their monthly gas bills will triple next year due to the effects of the war.