The first week of January has seen abnormally cold weather and a continuing oil dispute between Russia and Belarus, giving a reminder of the continuing need for increased security of energy supply. The UK's experience of a 30% increase in gas demand has raised concerns that a gas shortage could hit the country. Worries remain despite a gas balancing alert issued by the UK's National Grid later being withdrawn. Continued low temperatures in January would compound problems in the UK, formerly a net exporter of gas, due to a lack of storage capacity.

In the Baltic states, concerns were also raised as to the security of electricity supply, especially as Lithuania's Ignalina nuclear power plant was finally shut down on 31 December 2009(1). This follows a threat, on 4 January, by Belarus' state-owned electricity company Belenergo to cut transit of electricity to Russia's Kaliningrad enclave (and Baltic countries). This is linked to suspension of heavily...

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