George Clerk

Report warns of gas shortages in the event of extremely cold weather

A report by the Federal Economy Department’s Energy Section says that a combination of extreme cold weather and the cuts to some supplies could lead to gas shortages in Belgium this winter. Although the report has not yet been published, its contents are reported on in Friday’s edition of the daily ‘De Tijd’. 

However, the Federal Government is not alarmed. Speaking in the Federal Parliament on Thursday, the Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Flemish liberal) said  that “Neither the heating nor lights will go off". Mr De Croo added that there are no plans for a phased cut off of energy supplies during the coming winter. The Federal Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten (Flemish Green) also sounded reassured during a press briefing on Thursday.

In the yet-to-be-published report, the Federal Economy Department writes that there could be a shortage of gas if there is a prolonged period of freezing temperatures. If this were the case gas imports from, for example, the United Kingdom could dry up. If this happens, Belgium would not be able to ensure supplies for long using its current reserves and would also not be able to export sufficient gas to other countries.

Nevertheless, the office of the Federal Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten says that there are currently no issues with regard to the security of supply of either gas or electricity. The combination of circumstances set out in the energy department’s report are very extreme. What’s more the report does not take into account the fact that households and companies are currently trying to save energy due to the high price of gas.

Furthermore, Belgium does not only import gas from the United Kingdom. There are also pipelines also suppling us with gas from Norway and the Netherlands and LNG is brought to a terminal in Zeebrugge (West Flanders) by ship.

The general opinion among those responsible for energy supply policy in Belgium with regard to gas supplies is "If we are in trouble, then all of Europe is in trouble”.

 

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