Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg is in talks which would commit Britain to buy agreed annual quantities of gas over the next decade or longer, a report has claimed. The Brexit-backing MP for North East Somerset is said to have entered negotiations with Norway and Qatar in a bid to lock the UK into long-term gas contracts.
Liz Truss, who replaced Boris Johnson as Prime Minister last month, reportedly supports the proposed deals as they would give the UK long-term security of supply.
You are reading: ‘A lot of concern!’ Jacob Rees-Mogg enters talks to lock UK into controversial gas deals
The deals are also expected to bring down the short-term cost of the Government’s energy bailout.
However, senior figures in Whitehall are said to oppose the move.
Treasury officials have warned that it could prove to be a “costly mistake” if the wholesale price of gas falls in the next 18 months.
‘A lot of concern!’ Jacob Rees-Mogg enters talks to lock UK into controversial gas deals
“The Prime Minister is completely behind it but others in government are concerned.”
According to the Times, a Whitehall source said: “There are a lot of concerns about this.
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“The Prime Minister is completely behind it but others in Government are concerned.
“There is a fear that we’ll save a bit of money now only to lock ourselves into over-the-odds prices in the longer term.
There are also concerns that potential deals could put the UK’s net zero plans at risk as the Government could be tied into buying large volumes of gas into the 2030s.
The ONS added: “Norway is typically the UK’s largest gas supplier.”
However, the Prime Minister has revealed that no agreement has yet been signed.
Speaking to Sky News, Ms Truss said: “We’ve not signed any deal, but what I’m saying is that Britain’s energy security is vital, and what we will be doing is always looking for value for money.
“What’s happened in the past is we’ve ended up being dependent on the global spot price. We’ve seen the effect of that.
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“We’ve seen the fact that people will face bills of £6,000 and I never want Britain to be in that position again.”
The report in the Times comes after the Office for National Statistics released data concerning British fuel imports.
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The Prime Minister has revealed that no agreement has yet been signed.
The Brexit-backing MP is said to have entered negotiations with Norway and Qatar.
According to the ONS, the UK saw a £4.8billion increase in gas imports as the 2021 total reached £19.6billion.
The ONS added: “Norway is typically the UK’s largest gas supplier.
“In 2021, the UK imported £14.5 billion of gas from Norway, which accounted for 77 percent of all gas imports.
“Other countries the UK imports gas from include Qatar, the United States and Russia.
“Almost half of the UK’s gas exports in 2021 were to Ireland, and the Netherlands was also a large export partner.”