European energy consumers could face energy rationing this winter, the head of Shell has warned.
Speaking at the Aurora spring conference in Oxford, UK, Ben van Buerden said costs would continue to spike amid the risk of Russia cutting off gas supplies following its invasion of Ukraine.
“It will be a really tough winter in Europe,” Ben van Beurden revealed. “We will all face very significant escalation in energy prices. In the worst case, Europe will need to ration its energy consumption.”
His warning came as retail energy suppliers urged the government to intervene again to keep UK bills in check, following a £15 billion (€17 billion) package of measures announced in May to ease the cost of living crisis, which includes £400 off energy bills for every household.
Prices are forecast to continue rising into the autumn, as uncertainty surrounds the extend to which Russia will continue to hinder supply of energy. Van Beurden said there was “no way of telling” whether Russia would restart gas flows into Europe via the Nord Stream I pipeline after maintenance started on Monday. It is due to conclude on 21 July.
“Putin has surprised quite a few of us,” he said. “I feel disappointed by the outcomes. He has also shown that he better be taken seriously when he makes threats. For a long time we thought it was not in Russia’s interest to cut off Russia’s largest market. He is able and willing to weaponise supplies.”
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