This briefing is based on two propositions.
First, that gas security matters, because today in the UKgas plays a dominant role in the provision of energy services, accounting for almost 40% of total inland primary energy consumption in 2017. Thus, a shortrun failure of gas security would undoubtedly have significant political and economic consequences.
Second, that the current measure is far too narrow to offer a comprehensive assessment of UK gas security, particularly in a post-Brexit context. Discussions at the Gas Security Forum suggested that:the measure of gas securityfocuses only on infrastructure capacity and not supply (capacity does not equal flow); it fails to take account of the time-lag for gas delivery; it does not measure diversity or spare capacity; it ignores the impact of multiple asset failures; and, does not consider the costs associated withensuring greater security.
It is in this context that this paper seeks to address the following questions:
- What are the constituent factors to consider in assessing gas security?
- What alternative measures exist?
- What potentially threatens gas security in the UK?
- What would a better approach to gas security look like?
The thinking behind this paper is that a more extensive approach to measuring UK gas security is needed to address the less dramatic challenges that face UK gas security, as well as the chance of managing a Black Swanevent.