British Gas-owner Centrica is to keep its Rough gas storage facility in the North Sea closed to new supplies for another winter.

The site, which closed last July for maintenance work, had been due to re-open in November, but will now remain offline until April.

Gas prices rose on news of the delay at Rough, which accounts for 70% of the UK’s gas storage capacity.

But Matt Drinkwater, a Senior Gas Expert at market data company Argus, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper: “The market price move might have been more dramatic if not for the fact that the market was already pretty sceptical that Rough would return to normal operations for this storage year.”

Concerns over winter prices

Oliver Sanderson, a Gas Analyst at Thomson Reuters, added: “The loss of Rough storage adds a significant element of risk to gas prices for the coming winter.

“Although we do not foresee any problems in gas supply, the price at which this gas is supplied is likely to be more expensive and exposed to volatility.

“UK winter prices are likely to be the most expensive in western Europe, with sharp price spikes likely during cold snaps on both sides of the Channel.”

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