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Gas row: UK expects limited impact

Russia's cutoff of gas supplies to Ukraine in a price dispute is likely to have a limited effect on Britain.

india Updated: Jan 02, 2006 20:23 IST

Russia's cutoff of gas supplies to Ukraine in a price dispute is likely to have a limited effect on Britain, given that it is "not a heavy importer" of Russian gas, British Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks said on Monday.

"We are increasingly talking about a European or a global energy market, so there's always a worry about knock-on effects," Wicks told BBC radio a day after Russia cut its gas supplies to Ukraine in a bitter row over pricing.

"This is a difficult winter throughout Europe. It's colder than average and, for various reasons in Britain, we have got quite a tight equation between demand and supply. We need to look at this one very carefully."

But Wicks added: "We are not a heavy importer of gas from Russia, so the effects here should be less than elsewhere."

Britain does not import gas directly from Russia, but is connected to the Europe-wide wholesale gas distribution network through a pipeline that runs beneath the North Sea between Belgium and the north of England.

Oil and gas imports in general are increasingly important for Britain to compensate for a decline in output from its domestic North Sea platforms.