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Gas Supplies

Volume 453: debated on Tuesday 28 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he has taken besides his efforts to liberalise the European gas market to ensure security of supply within the UK gas market. (101909)

[holding answer 21 November 2006]: The recent review of the UK's energy policy confirmed the Government's view that security of supply is best ensured by a competitive and liberalised market-based system. Coupled with a light touch regulatory framework, this facilitates the short-term balancing of supply and demand, and provides the price signals and incentives to encourage investment for the longer term in diverse supplies. Two outcomes from the Energy Review address security of gas supply: DTI is working to streamline consent regimes for gas supply infrastructure projects, and is also consulting on possible ways to further improve the effectiveness of the current UK gas security of supply arrangements.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what impact concerns raised by NATO regarding Russia limiting gas supply into Europe have had on his plans for security of gas supply in the UK. (101910)

[holding answer 21 November 2006]: With our EU partners and through the International Energy Agency, the Government monitor international gas market developments closely. The UK continues to promote diverse supplies, delivered through competitive markets, as the most efficient and effective way to ensure gas security of supply.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the availability of information on the cost and supply of Norwegian gas imported into the UK. (102439)

[holding answer 23 November 2006]: No individual assessment has been made. Rules covering participation in GB gas markets, including those relating to provision of information, are the same for all market participants.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he has taken to increase the transparency of the gas markets that feed the UK gas market. (102623)

[holding answer 23 November 2006]: I attach great importance to the development of a functioning internal energy market. While progress has been made in implementing the EU's 2003 liberalisation package, further steps are needed and I welcome the action the Commission is taking, both in conducting a sectoral inquiry of energy and in considering what other action may be necessary.

In the UK's response to the Commission energy Green Paper of March this year, we underlined a number of factors which we regard as key to the development of the market: ensuring sufficient information is available for all market players and consumers to benefit from fair competition; the need for regulators to have sufficient powers and independence to deliver competition, including across borders; investment in cross-border infrastructure; and effective unbundling to prevent discrimination against market entrants.

I look forward to the publication of the Commission's strategic energy review and the conclusions of the sectoral inquiry, both due to be published in January.