Documents obtained by Greenpeace show that the government is concerned that terrorism and piracy could pose a serious threat to the UK’s energy supply.
The documents, released under a Freedom of Information (FoI) act by the environmental charity, show details of meetings between government officials from the UK and Qatar who discussed the “major energy security issue” posed by terrorism and piracy.
Qatar holds 15% of all global gas reserves with a LNG production capacity of 77 million tonnes. Last year the UK got 30% of its required LNG from the country. Qatari LNG being shipped to the UK travels past Oman and Yeman and then through the Strait of Hormuz and with 96 LNG vessels in operation 24 hours a day, the potential for disruption from piracy and terrorism is substantial.
Indeed, the military has previously warned that nearly half of all UK gas imports and over 80% of its LNG imports would be cut off if Iran followed through with its continued threats of blocking the Strait of Hormuz. According to Greenpeace, although piracy incidents in the Strait have fallen, energy experts remain seriously concerned that the LNG vessels could become a key target.
The news comes after Alistair Buchanan’s warning yesterday that the UK will be relying too heavily on imported gas over the coming years.
Commenting on the threat of piracy and terrorism, Greenpeace Energy Campaigner, Leila Deen, said: “Soaring gas prices, families struggling with bills, and now very serious concerns about threats to supply – what more will it take for Chancellor George Osborne to admit defeat over his dash for gas?”
She concluded: “To increase UK reliance on gas is clearly folly, yet this is exactly what Osborne’s gas strategy proposes.”