British Gas warned on October 28 that the UK has only 9 days of natural gas inventories, compared with 89 days in Germany, 103 days in France and 123 days in the Netherlands. One of the countries with the lowest air volume.
So the British energy giant has announced that it will reopen one of its storage facilities under the North Sea off the coast of Yorkshire. The company said the move would increase the UK's natural gas storage capacity by 50%.
As the energy crisis looms, the UK Met Office's winter outlook report, released next Monday, has received widespread attention. The forecast is usually reserved for professionals, weather enthusiasts and long-distance travelers, but in the context of Europe's energy crisis, the release has attracted a lot of attention.
A cold, dry, windless winter could deplete the continent's natural gas reserves, as European governments have scrambled to bolster their reserves in recent months in an attempt to wean themselves off Russia's energy dependence.
The analysis believes that this weather forecast will impact the natural gas market and even have a wider economic impact. While the UK is more vulnerable than some other European countries, the country has relied heavily on wind power over the past decade (wind accounted for 54.1% of UK electricity), and calm weather reduces power generation and increases demand for natural gas.
Analysts hope to get a better idea of what the weather will look like this winter with a report out next week. Guy Smith, head of gas trading at Swedish utility Vattenfall, said a team of five weather analysts would scrutinize the UK forecast, as well as forecasts from two other European agencies expected to be released in November.
While the focus of this report is on the UK, it also has implications across the continent. The Met Office will make a rough forecast of weather for the next three months, such as whether temperatures and rainfall will be above, near or below historical averages.
Weather conditions have been on the radar of big business for decades. To gain an edge, energy traders make heavy use of weather forecasts and other weather data. Many companies hire meteorologists to run their own weather models.
Liz Bentley, chief executive of the Royal Meteorological Society, said that the UK is an island country, surrounded by seas, located in the mid-latitudes and affected by the Atlantic westerly winds, so the weather is very easy to change. But even so, UK weather forecasters can still accurately predict the weather for the next few days.