The government has launched an urgent inquiry into how to reduce Britain’s exposure to Russian gas imports and Kremlin – supported energy companies following the invasion of Ukraine, according to people familiar with the situation.
The UK’s business minister, Qucci Quarteng, met on Friday with the bosses of some of the UK’s major energy groups as part of a review that energy industry leaders said would require a closer look at ties between Gazprom in Russia and the UK public and private sector.
National Grid John Pettigrew, Chris Ushia of Centrica and ScottishPower head Keith Anderson were among the chief executives who met Quartang, according to insiders.
One of the motives of the review is a push by ministers to reduce the amount of Russian gas imported into the UK, which accounts for 5 to 6 per cent of total gas imports.
The investigation will also examine the role of Gazprom’s trading arm in the UK, which energy industry executives have warned has extensive links with both companies and public sector entities.
Gazprom Marketing and Trade (GM&T) based in London is mainly a trader of energy products and buys and sells quantities of natural gas, Including from the North Sea of Great Britain. It also has a large retail arm that sells energy directly to industry and businesses.
NHS local authorities and trusts have spent £ 107 million on gas purchases from Gazprom’s British arm over the past six years, according to data collected by Tosel, the procurement data provider.
Britain has so far shied away from sanctions aimed specifically at Russia’s energy sector. But some of the world’s largest energy companies have already begun to sever ties with Russia as its military has resorted to increasingly brutal tactics, pounding Cities and towns in Ukraine with artillery and air strikes.
The owner of British Gas, Centrica, on Tuesday became the last company in the UK to seek to move away, announcing that it is seeking to exit gas supply agreements with Russian companies, particularly Gazprom, in an “urgent matter”.
Centrica, the UK’s largest energy supplier, last year extended a Gas supply deal With GM&T until 2025.
Ushia said Centrica was “working on the details” of how to get out of its supply deal with Gazprom, adding that he was “shocked by the events taking place in Ukraine and the unnecessary loss of life”. The move follows commitments from BP and Shell Disconnect With their Russian partners.
Eon UK, the UK’s second-largest energy supplier, said it had “decided to terminate early” to a previous-generation contract it had with GM&T.
Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said the government should help companies “do the right thing to support Ukraine”, even if it means refusing to honor existing contracts with Russian companies.
But companies could find themselves breaching a contract if they seek to sever agreements with Russian companies that are not covered by UK sanctions. “Companies can not just say they want to end a contract because it is not politically delicious,” said one lawyer.
Britain has been flooded with the idea that all G7 countries should look at it Adopt a “ceiling” On oil and gas imports. Canada banned Russian crude oil imports on Monday, although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admitted it had purchased very few From Russia in recent years.
Britain is much less exposed to Russian imports than most continental European countries, but what it pays for its gas is tied to international markets.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Warned This week that British households will have to endure even higher energy bills as the cost of imposing sanctions on Russia. Energy prices have risen sharply in recent months.
National Grid, Centrica, ScottishPower declined to comment on the meeting with Kwarteng.
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