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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 January 2006, 20:45 GMT
UK gas supply 'not under threat'
Russian NTV grab shows Russian employee turning gas valve in Kursk region
The Ukraine has denied Russian claims it is stealing gas
Britain will not be affected by Russia's decision to cut off supplies to Ukraine, Downing Street has said.

A spokesman for the prime minister said: "The immediate supply situation is not affected in any substantial way by this dispute."

The UK produces about 90% of its own gas from the North Sea. Most of the remaining 10% is imported from Norway.

But UK supplies have recently been dwindling and imports will become more important in the future.

The prime minister's spokesman denied there would be a "knee jerk" energy policy response to the row, but called for the dispute to end quickly.

Russia's state-run Gazprom cut Ukrainian supplies on Sunday after talks to solve a price row broke down.

UK officials and European Commission members are to discuss the situation on Wednesday.

Clearly we believe that it's in the interests of everybody, not least Russia and the Ukraine, that this matter is resolved as quickly as possible
Downing Street spokesman

Exports from Russia to the EU are carried through the same pipes that carry gas to Ukraine and France, Germany, Poland, Italy and Slovakia all reported drops in supply.

Gas giant Gazprom has said supplies to the EU will return to normal on Wednesday.

The Downing Street spokesman said officials from the Department of Trade and Industry would be attending a technical meeting with members of the EC in Brussels.

"Clearly we believe that it's in the interests of everybody, not least Russia and the Ukraine, that this matter is resolved as quickly as possible," he said.

Security of supply

The prime minister's spokesman said security of supply was part of the government's energy review, due to be published this month.

Mr Blair had also urged the EU to "come up with a coherent energy policy" during an EU summit at Hampton Court last year.

"Does an energy review knee-jerk to one particular event? No. But does it take into account the need for security of supply, diversity of supply, further down the line?"

"That's one of the issues that needs to be considered. There is an issue of security of supply, there was already before this event, and clearly this event underlines that issue," he said.

UK prices

On Monday, energy minister Malcolm Wicks said the UK's gas was not imported directly from Russia so the situation posed "no immediate threat" to supplies.

However, he added it was a developing situation and prices could be affected if it impacted on the EU gas market.

It follows months of rising UK prices and warnings of further significant increases in 2006.

Some firms had already put their prices up again just before the Russian row broke out and analysts warned suppliers might try to exploit doubts over the row to raise prices further.

Why British firms fear the gas supply row will affect them

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