UK nearly ran out of gas last month say Tories

The UK was on the brink of a gas supply crisis during last month's cold snap, Tories have warned.

The country had just four days' worth of gas stored at one point and only reduced demand due to the recession prevented the situation becoming more serious, Shadow Energy Secretary Greg Clark told MPs.

But Energy Minister Mike O'Brien said Clark had taken no account of supplies pumped in from Norwegian gas fields.

At Commons question time Mr Clark said that on 20 February Britain "hit a new low" with just four days' worth of gas in storage.

O'Brien said the North Sea gas reserve put Britain in a position "unlike other countries" which meant it did not require the same amount of gas storage capacity as continental European nations.

But Clark accused the minister of being "remarkably complacent". He added: "For the second time in only four winters we almost ran out of gas sufficient to meet our demand. In fact, only the depressed state of the economy ... because of the recession, saved us from running out."

Clark attacked Labour's record on adding storage capacity and added: "Do we have to hope that this government runs out of time before Britain runs out of gas?"

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