British Energy Minister Calls For Development Of Domestic Shale Gas
Russia’s seizure of Crimea drives home the urgent need for the UK to develop more domestic sources of energy, such as shale gas and nuclear power, Britain’s energy minister has warned.
Michael Fallon said President Vladimir Putin’s intervention in the Ukraine demonstrated why Britain had to reduce its dependence on imports from “unstable” regions, such as Russia.
“It’s a wake-up call to Europe of the need to develop more energy sources of all kinds. We can’t be more and more dependent on imports from unstable regions,” Mr Fallon said, speaking to The Daily Telegraph after the US and European Union imposed limited sanctions on Moscow.
An emergency meeting of the leaders of the G7 nations is due to take place today on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit in The Hague, which could see Russia permanently excluded from the G8.
The UK is already partly dependent on Russian gas imported indirectly via Europe’s network of pipelines and suppliers. Figures from the US Energy Information Administration show that Moscow dominates Europe’s gas supply market, shipping 76pc of its exports of the heating fuel to the region last year.
Centrica signed a deal with the UK marketing arm of Russia’s state-run Gazprom in 2012 for the supply of 2.4bn cubic metres of gas. A spokesperson for the UK utility said that supplies from Gazprom will start in October but would not necessarily be sourced from Russia.
Fears over the security of Russian gas supplies were raised last week by Ukraine’s interim prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who urged closer ties with Europe to prevent Mr Putin from using energy as a “new nuclear weapon” in his dispute with the West.