This briefing by Dr Andrew Judge from the University of Glasgow examines the implications of Brexit for the prevention and management of gas supply crises. It assesses whether Brexit increases the risk of gas supply crises in the short-term and the longer-term challenges in this policy area once the UK leaves the European Union (EU).
It finds that the UK has a robust set of arrangements for preventing gas supply disruptions which are linked to, but independent of, EU-level arrangements. Leaving the EU should not substantially increase the risk of gas supply disruptions, even under a ‘no deal’ Brexit. The UK is not heavily reliant on EU gas supplies and has a diverse import infrastructure that should allow it to source supplies in an emergency, if it is prepared to pay higher prices on international LNG markets. Even if the UK is outside of the internal energy market, as it will be under the withdrawal agreement or a ‘no deal’ Brexit, gas trade should continue.
Nonetheless, the UK faces several longer-term challenges to its energy security. Addressing these will become increasingly difficult once the UK is no longer part of decision-making processes within the EU. It will need to invest considerable time and resources in its attempts to influence the future development of the EU internal energy market. This is important for ensuring that the UK continues to have secure and affordable gas supplies to meet its considerable levels of demand in the near future.
This briefing is part of an ongoing research project examining the implications of Brexit for the governance of crises in the UK, which is being conducted by Dr Andrew Judge at the University of Glasgow and Dr John Connolly at the University of the West of Scotland. It has been funded by a Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland Research Incentives Grant.
The views expressed in this briefing are those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of interviewees or Policy Scotland.
Photo credit: Construction of a pipeline between Cluden and Brighouse in Scotland, as part of the Scotland-Ireland interconnector project that has recently received financing from the European Investment Bank. Image by Alistair Hamilton, licensed under CC BY 2.0.