By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, July 26, 2001 — The UK government has set up an organization to assess the country’s vulnerability to rising imports, especially natural gas.

The Energy Security of Supply Working Group is expected meet for the first time in September. Risks to the UK’s future gas and electricity supplies will be assessed by the group, said Brian Wilson, minister for energy, and Callum McCarthy, chief executive of Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (Ofgem).

It will monitor supply security and assess any risks to supplies in the future. The group will be chaired jointly by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Ofgem. Wilson said the UK government wants to do more to plan for the future.

“This new group will be looking at least 7 years ahead and provide expert advice on assessing the risks to our energy supply and on the adequacy of the UK’s gas and electricity infrastructure,” he said. “We are currently self sufficient in energy at competitive prices and have diverse sources of supply. However we must not be complacent. In future we expect to become increasingly dependent on imports of fuel and particularly gas.”

McCarthy said the working group will “help us understand the way the UK’s energy market is developing so we can respond in a timely fashion.” I

The working group’s charge includes the following, officials said:

• To assess data relevant to security of supply, to identify the gaps in that data,and develop appropriate indicators.

• To monitor at a strategic level, over the next 7 years the availability of supplies of gas; the availability of supplies of electricity and fuels used for electricity generation; the adequacy of generating capacity; and the adequacy of the UK’s gas and electricity infrastructure.

• To assess whether appropriate market-based mechanisms are bringing forward timely investment to address any weaknesses in the supply chain that are anticipated. U

• To identify relevant policy issues and consider implications.

• To report twice yearly to the secretary of state and the Gas and Electricity Market Authority.