Britain will begin buying Russian gas directly this year, while the rest of Europe is attempting to cut its reliance on supplies from Moscow amidst the crisis in Ukraine.
Under a deal signed in 2012 the UK’s biggest utility company Centrica will start importing Russian gas from October this year, Reuters reports.
The deal remains in the pipeline, despite EU calls to move away from energy reliance on Russia. On Friday European Union leaders discussed the possible ways to diversify, as they say Crimea’s annexation by Russia made them more determined to take action.
UK domestic gas production is falling by about 7 percent annually, and the country is looking for alternative sources to fill the gap.
Supplies of Russian gas, which already provide a third of Europe’s needs, reach Britain through the central and south eastern parts of the continent, rather than directly. Most of Britain’s imports comes piped from Norway and liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments from further afield.
Most Russian supplies have recently been from storage in Germany.
Russia’s energy major Gazprom sells between 11 billion and 12 billion cubic metres to the UK, which is about 15 percent of country’s total need.