Natural Gas in the UK:
An Industry in Search of a Policy?
Natural gas plays a central role in the UK (and the world) energy market in the first decade of the 21st century, but is facing the prospect of a decline in its importance as environmental factors combine to reduce the importance of natural gas and the other carbon-based fuels. This will inevitably result in the future of the gas industry becoming dependent on wider considerations, which can be summed up as ‘environmental energy policy’.
Policy makers looking to the longer term are primarily concerned with producing electricity from the least emitting fuel; reducing emissions in line with national policy and international agreements; the security of energy supplies for their own countries; and the cost of energy for national users. The future of the gas industry is a long way down the list of priorities, and this is unlikely to change.
Three questions need to be asked at this point: What is the UK’s energy policy? Where does natural gas sit within that policy? and, Is there a need for more central direction? There is no easy answer to any of these questions.
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