The UK Government has been urged to review its winter planning after heavy snow raised fears over the security of gas supplies.

National Grid last week issued its first gas deficit warning in eight years, saying it might not have enough gas to meet demand.

An unplanned outage at South Hook liquified natural gas terminal and a reduction in supplies from Norway to the St Fergus terminal had prompted the warning to be issued.

The warning was designed to stimulate further supplies being brought to the market. The network operator removed the warning once extra gas was made available to meet demand.

According to ICIS, the price of wholesale British natural gas for immediate delivery hit a 12-year high last Wednesday morning as reduced supply and rocketing demand shook the market.

Domestic supplies protected

Ministers had moved quickly to reassure domestic customers that their supplies would be unaffected by any gas shortage.

National Grid said that industrial users and gas-fired power stations would be asked to lower their demand if gas supplies ran short.

Commentators pointed to the closure of Centrica’s Rough gas storage facility in the North Sea for reducing reserves.

The growth of gas-fired power stations and the decrease in the amount of gas being extracted from the North Sea were also blamed as contributing factors.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, said: “The Tories have failed to properly plan for the worst cold snap for years.

“Their failure to intervene in Centrica’s closure of the Rough storage facility highlights their lack of foresight and planning for the winter. We desperately need an energy system that works for consumers, not profit.”

> Find out more about gas deficit warnings