Gas (Supply and Demand)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:51 pm on 14th March 2006.

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Photo of Bob Blizzard Bob Blizzard PPS (Mr Douglas Alexander, Minister of State), Foreign & Commonwealth Office 3:51 pm, 14th March 2006

Is not the lesson from yesterday that even in exceptional circumstances the system worked as it was designed to work? A couple of weeks ago, I asked the head of one of the largest European gas companies why his company was not trying to sell more gas to this country when our prices were higher. His answer, quite simply, was, "I am sewn up in long-term gas contracts with my customers, and I have to put them first." Does my right hon. Friend accept that explanation, and if so, does it not say something about the balance between the amount of gas that this country receives on long-term contracts and the amount that people are buying or supplying on spot prices?