Boris Johnson has likened the high global demand behind a spike in wholesale gas prices to the nation putting “the kettle on at the end of a TV programme” as he insisted the problems will be temporary.
The Prime Minister sought to assure the public on Sunday that supply issues would be “readily addressed” and linked problems to the world’s economies springing back into action from a coronavirus-induced dormancy.
He said “stress and strains” in the supply chains were being experienced across the world with the economy now “bouncing back very strongly””.
“We’re experiencing bottlenecks in all kinds of things, huge stresses, as the world wakes up from Covid,” Mr Johnson told reporters travelling with him on the RAF Voyager to New York for the United Nations General Assembly.
“It’s like everybody going back to put the kettle on at the end of a TV programme, you’re seeing huge stresses on the world supply systems.”
OGUK, which represents the nation’s offshore oil and gas industry, said wholesale prices for gas have surged 250% since January with a 70% rise since August alone.
Mr Johnson added: “On the current supply-chain squeeze, it is fundamentally caused by the global economy coming to life again: the guy ropes are pinging off Gulliver and it’s standing up, and it’s going to take a while, as it were, for the circulation to adjust.”
Particularly in Asia, he said, there is a “phenomenal” demand for gas but insisted things will “start to smooth out” when the “world economy starts firing on cylinders”.
“First of all I want to give a general reassurance that the problems we’re seeing are temporary,” he said.
“I have no doubt that supply issues will be readily addressed. We’re very confident in our supply chains.
“But in the meantime, we will make sure we work with all the gas companies to do whatever we can to keep people’s supplies coming, to make sure they don’t go out for business, and to make sure we get through the current difficult period.”