Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker has moved to quell fears over the volatility of the gas market

Gas market 'working' says minister despite high prices

A minister from the government department responsible for energy policy insisted high gas prices showed "our market's working".

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker acknowledged the price spike was "uncomfortable" for consumers, but he stressed that volatility in the gas market would drive investment in energy infrastructure.

Speaking in the Commons, he said: "We are aware of industry concerns on current high gas prices and low storage stocks. But while high prices in a spike are uncomfortable they are a sign that our market's working and that we are attracting the gas we need through a diverse range of infrastructure.

"Price volatility is not something we can completely, nor should, seek to remove from our market. This is the key mechanism which enables our market to balance efficiently, at lowest cost to consumers, and which incentivises investment in new infrastructure such as storage.

"Our market is resilient to global events and has spare import capacity built in."

But he told MPs the government was working with energy regulator Ofgem to review the market arrangements.

He said: "We take gas security and the risk of harmful price spikes seriously and we are determined to do more. We are working with Ofgem to review our market arrangements to ensure that they continue to provide secure supplies to the consumer at a fair price.

"At the same time we are also diversifying our energy mix to reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels and are putting in place robust policies to cut energy demand."

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