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Last Week's Poll: Russia and the UK's energy security

What influence, if any, should current tensions with Russia have on UK energy policy?

 As tensions deepen in the wake of the latest Malaysian airlines disaster, European governments are concerned that Russia  - which provides around 50 percent of Europe’s gas - may cut off the supply. What impact do you think these concerns should have on the UK’s energy policy?


Of the 699 readers who responded to last week’s poll, the largest proportion, 42 per cent, favoured increasing investment in renewables to reduce dependence on Russian gas, while another 38 per cent thought that fracking would provide the best result. Just 5 per cent thought that other countries would provide more stable sources of oil and gas, while 4 per cent thought that politicla tensions were unlikely to affect the supply of Russian gas.

According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, 87 per cent of UK gas imports come from Norway and from LNG imports from Qatar, neither of which sell on any Russian gas. Of the remaining 13 per cent, DECC estimates that only a very small proportion could have originated in Russia, comprising less than 1 per cent of total UK gas imports.

Please continue to send us your opinions on this poll and its results.

Cuadrilla's fracking operation in Lancashire

Tensions with Russia could accelerate the UK’s push to exploit its shale gas reserves



Readers' comments (20)

  • In light of yet another rapidly developing political situation with one of our major foreign suppliers of energy when will the so called political leaders of this country make a sensible sustainable long term energy policy which will ensure long term energy independence. The only sensible option to achieve this, in the light of ever increasing energy demand, is nuclear generation - you know it makes sense.

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  • We should stand up to these bullies. There are alternative power sources and perhaps it will inspire Engineers to find those solutions sooner rather than later.

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  • What a facile poll!

    That any national/international policy should not consider ANY threat, risk or opportunity is ludicrous.

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  • We should have kept up our nuclear program long ago and that would have given us the independence we require if we are going to challenge countries like Russia on policy and what they have done in the Ukraine.
    Nuclear is the only current option that we know will guarantee our energy security 24/7 x 365!

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  • Trade is the best way of peace-keeping, isolation is the worst.

    The Russians seem to have been found guilty and hanged for a crime in a separate country: if they had invaded the separist area of Ukraine they would have had a definite responsibility.

    Russia holds the gas card and Germany know it. By comparison, the USA seems to have little to lose!

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  • Like always we or the UK Government always sides with US without clear thinking. Look what happened to Rhodesia, South Africa, Iran, North Korea to whom sanctions were imposed? They each found ways to circumvent the sanctions so why are we siding with US?
    Russia has abundant fossil fuel not only for itself but can provide to Europe cheaper then if US comes into the market.
    Russia with its new partners at BRICK that included India, Brazil, South Africa and China can go it alone and trade within their club without needing us.

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  • Yes and no. It is always a good idea to become as independent as possible. It should be part of a good risk management process. Pipelines burst, transport ways freeze, ships sink, etc.

    Private households and energy using companies should focus primarily on energy efficiency - use as little external energy as possible to save costs and ensure continuous operation with a little storage.

    Companies selling energy will have a different focus, as they want to increase the dependency of their customers.

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  • "History is a study of the past, in order to understand the present and prepare for the future." I was obliged to write that on page 1 of every history note book I used from age about 7-18. Unless our 'leaders' have very short memories, they will recall (heavens they studied PPE some even did history) that the post 17th century 'history' of that area East from Poland and the Baltic States to the Urals has been one of almost constant blood-shed, invasion, destruction, loss of name it, the Rest of Europe did it to them. One of the clear policies of the post WWII Soviet leadership was to position buffers as deep and with edges as far from their borders as possible. Having been attacked twice in under 40 years (three if you include Napoleon) from the West, they are not about to see it happen again. Frankly, having lost 25,000,000 killed in WWII [that was the equivalent of 50% of the then UK population) who can really blame them? Yes, Communism (where everyone is a civil servant) and central planning of everything always gives regional chaos is unlikely to succeed in the real world, as it has shown, but the history is still there.
    If a potential competitor or large supplier has me/my firm/my country over a barrel my best policy is surely to keep friends and try to recognise the reasons. Its called market-forces even capitalism, I believe.

    Having worked in a very large textile mill in Kursk (a city that has a very special place in the history of the USSR -as it was the first place where the Red Army really saw-off the Wehrmacht)- for about two months in 1970 and seen the results on that society (a generation without grandparents) and deprivation and destruction that puts any suffered by other European cities into some form of context..I believe I write with some feeling.

    Mike B

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  • The issue of Russian responsibility for MH17 coming down and the implications of another cold-war on the EU have reached the “Newspeak” level. The fact that few validated facts are available as yet combined with the sudden (after 6 years) Litvinenko resurgence seem to be part of the anti-Russian movement inspired by the USA. The excellent letter from Mike Blamey reflects an honest opinion about the history of the area that is forgotten by politicians.
    The primary issue that arises is that of free-trade against the political agenda. The EU has entered a period of unprecedented trade with Russia (imported gas, weapons and cars come to mind). This has to be the best basis for world peace in the long-term, as well as re-balancing trade.
    However, the energy sector’s over-reliance on unreliable energy sources and imported fuels does need to be redressed, as a number of contributors point-out. As we reduce coal burn and take decades to build nuclear power plant our dependence upon imported energy increases. It seems that Fracking might be our only way forward apart from accepting the increased risk of power cuts that are features of un-developed countries: certainly the wasted money spent subsidising fundamentally unreliable aero-generators and solar power are taking us ever-closer to the abbys.

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  • Putting conflict aside, energy independence is what we should be aiming for anyway!

    We should concentrate on a mixture of things:

    - Education for maximising energy efficiency in people's homes - by small scale renewable production or improving building work/appliances

    - Maximising the potential of renewables - start producing wave generators on a large scale, install tidal barriers and increase the numbers of wind farms at sea

    - Invest heavily in nuclear now to bridge the gap before the renewables come online

    Once the first light goes out... that's when people will start spending money - and that will be years too late

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