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    Gas Provides Half of UK Power



Gas accounted for just over half of UK power production in 2Q 2016, as coal fell to a record low share, according to the latest national statistics.

by: Mark Smedley

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Natural Gas & LNG News, Europe, Gas to Power, News By Country, United Kingdom

Gas Provides Half of UK Power

Gas accounted for just over half of UK power production in 2Q 2016, as coal fell to a record low share, according to latest national statistics released by the government's new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on August 25.

Gas provided 50.9% of 2Q electricity generation by major power producers, with nuclear at 24.2%, renewables 18.1% and coal only 6.8%. 

Electricity generation by the same producers was down 0.9% year on year, which meant their coal use fell by 71%, whereas their gas use rose by 52% – with gas use by generators in April 2016 the highest of any month since October 2011. This was due to reduced coal-fired capacity, with coal use in May 2016 its lowest of any month in the past 21 years, as more plants were definitively closed or switched to biomass-burning. It was also helped by cheap gas, currently available on the UK spot market at just under $4/mn Btu for prompt supplies. And uniquely in Europe, the UK has set a carbon price floor, which improves the economics of gas over coal burn.

RWE's 2-GW Pembroke gas-fired power plant in Wales. Such UK CCGTs were kept busy in second quarter 2016 (Credit: RWE)

Overall UK primary energy consumption in 2Q 2016 fell by 0.3% year on year, with indigenous natural gas production down by 3.2%.

Whereas UK 1Q 2016 gas production increased by 5%, owing to first flows from the Total-operated Laggan-Tormore field west of the Shetland Isles in February 2015, the 2Q 2016 figure (down 3.2%) is in comparison with the first full quarter of production from that field.

Overall UK gas demand in April-June 2016 was 20% higher than in 2Q 2015 – with a notable increase in April of one-third – largely thanks to the power sector. Gross gas imports into the UK in 2Q were up by 21%, while gross exports were down by 28% (those to the Republic of Ireland falling by half, thanks to the start-up of its Corrib gasfield). Norway supplied 63% of the UK's 2Q gross gas imports, while LNG provided 32%.

Net gas imports were 56.5% higher in 2Q at 7.7m³.


Mark Smedley

Liquefied Natural Gas 'reloads' started in late 2014 and have continued since with the UK exporting to various countries such as Brazil, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.