Shell boss warns energy may need to be rationed this winter as Russia chokes off gas supplies
The boss of Shell has warned that energy may need to be rationed in the UK and Europe this winter as Russia chokes off gas supplies.
Ben van Beurden predicted a ‘tough winter’ as Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine prompted a scramble by European nations to store up natural gas for the colder months ahead.
That has pushed up prices for consumers and businesses, exacerbating a cost of living crisis.
Warning: Shell boss Ben van Beurden predicted a ‘tough winter’ as Putin’s invasion of Ukraine prompted a scramble by European nations to store up natural gas for the colder months ahead
The Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline from Russia to western Europe is closed for maintenance for ten days.
If, as some fear, it does not reopen, the EU may struggle to meet its target for having 80 per cent of its storage capacity filled by November 1. Stocks are at 62.6 per cent full.
Van Beurden told an industry conference in Oxford: ‘It will be a really tough winter in Europe.
‘Some countries will fare better than others but we will all be facing a very significant escalation in energy prices.’
He said that in the worst case, the UK and Europe will need to ration its energy consumption.
Mainland Europe has typically relied on Russia for 40 per cent of its gas needs and, though it is aiming to wean itself off those supplies over the coming years it is still heavily dependent on them.
The UK uses much less – Russian imports made up just 4 per cent of gas usage in 2021.
But it is not immune to the crisis as it is still exposed to the disruption in energy markets that have pushed gas and oil prices sharply higher since the start of the war.
Regulator Ofgem has already hiked its energy price cap this year and is on course to do so again in October.
Elsewhere, French president Emmanuel Macron has warned citizens to prepare for street lights to be switched off to save energy if Russia turns off its gas taps.
French president Emmanuel Macron (pictured Thursday during a Bastille Day parade in Paris) has warned citizens to prepare for street lights to be switched off to save energy if Russia turns off its gas taps
In a Bastille Day speech yesterday, Mr Macron said: ‘The summer, early autumn will be very hard. Russia is using energy, like it is using food, as a weapon of war. We should prepare ourselves for the scenario where we have to go without all Russian gas.’
He said the plan to conserve energy would start with turning off public lights at night.
Yesterday Germans were warned their monthly gas bills will triple next year due to the impact of the war.