Gas alert

Shell boss warns of winter energy rationing

The Nordstream pipeline is closed for maintenance and may remain shut to Europe

Energy may need to be rationed in the UK and Europe this winter as Russia chokes off gas supplies, according to the head of Shell.

CEO Ben van Beurden has warned of a “tough winter” as Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine forces European nations to store up natural gas for the colder months ahead.

“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 told the Aurora Spring Conference in Oxford.

Russia cut the gas supply to Europe in the middle of June and currently is not sending any gas via its Nord Stream pipeline as is undergoing regular maintenance until 21 July.

The EU and its major importers of Russian gas are concerned that Gazprom will not resume flows through Nord Stream once the maintenance period is over, or could further slash supplies.

That would leave the EU struggling to meet its target for having 80% of its storage capacity filled by 1 November.

Mr van Beurden said that in the worst case, the UK and Europe will need to ration its energy consumption.

Many countries in Europe, including the biggest economy Germany, have started asking households to take voluntary measures to conserve energy, so there will be more gas for heating and power demand this winter.  

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