With uncertainties still surrounding Brexit and the negotiations, no one really knows for sure what will happen after Britain leaves the EU. The government has made preparations for every scenario in its negotiations with the EU, including a ‘no deal' Brexit. As a country that relies heavily on a mix of domestic and imported gas to meet a large demand for energy, Britain's energy landscape is one area sparking debate as part of EU negotiations.
The question is though, what do these negotiations actually mean for the gas industry? Biomethane suppliers Flogas explain what could potentially happen to the UK in event of a no-deal Brexit.
Currently there are two main areas to consider when we investigate the potential implications for Brexit: The current and future state of the UK's gas supply, and laws and regulations governing how we source and use our energy.
An important question to think about is whether the UK will be importing gas following Brexit the same way it does currently. Fundamentally, the mechanisms of cross-border gas trade aren't expected to change – even in the event of a no-deal scenario.
The reason for this is that the UK's national suppliers or Transmission System Operators (who are the national grid in Great Britain and Premier Transmission Limited in Northern Ireland) and our European interconnector operators are currently trading via the same private owned platform. This is called PRISMA, which provides a range of services for EU and non-EU countries, and the government have revealed that both National Grid and Premier Transmission intend to continue using it.
In the event of a no-deal there will be implications to the way they'd trade gas with EU's 27 member states. As such, the government is advising interconnectors, code administrators and UK gas market participants to carry out contingency planning for a no-deal scenario. More information is available in the guidance document: Trading gas with the EU if there's no Brexit deal.
If there is a no-deal Brexit, the EU energy law will no longer apply to the UK. UK laws relating to energy will still apply (on the 17 December 2018 the government published its statutory instruments to ensure UK energy laws continue to work after Brexit).
There will be a number of changes to the licensing and industry codes of practice to ensure they're still valid. Ofgem – the government regulator for the gas and electricity markets in Great Britain – published guidance on modifications to licenses and industry codes related to Brexit on 6 December 2018. In Great Britain, Ofgem is responsible for ensuring the technical rules of the domestic gas market are updated in a no-deal situation. As such, Ofgem will lead the license change process in Great Britain (and the Utility Regulator will lead it in Northern Ireland).
Interconnector owners and operators will have to engage with relevant EU regulators to seek approval and to ensure they understand any changes to certificates. Support from Ofgem (and the Utility Regulator for Northern Ireland) will be available for interconnectors during this process.
Despite all the predictions that continue to be made surrounding Brexit, it's important to note that the government is planning for all possible scenarios. It has confirmed that it will continue to work with businesses, trade associations and gas market stakeholders on the implications of a no-deal Brexit, publishing updates online. For updated information and guidance visit: www.gov.uk.