Centrica chief: Britain will import 70% of its natural gas supply by 2020

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Britain will import at much as 70% of its gas needs by 2020 the boss of British Gas parent company Centrica has warned.

Sam Laidlaw voiced his concerns at an international energy conference held at the CERAWeek Global Gas Plenary in Houston, Texas.

His comments build on the warning from Energy Minister, Michael Fallon, last November who suggested Britain would be importing up to three quarters of its natural gas by 2030.

With an estimated 80% of homes heated by gas, the problem for the UK could be in meeting these demands, especially with 3.7 gigawatts of UK coal generated energy being shut down by the end of 2015.

Centrica chief executive, Sam Laidlaw, suggested there was an urgent need to diversify sources.

He said: "In primary energy, the UK's production of gas is falling rapidly

"North Sea oil and gas output has fallen by 38% over the last three years. By 2020 we will be reliant on imports to meet 70% of the country's gas needs. So when it comes to security of supply, there is a pressing need for solutions"

The Centrica chief also reiterated his concerns over the current political climate in the UK, singling out the Labour party and its leader's, Ed Miliband, promise of a price freeze if his party is successful in next year's election.

Laidlaw added:"In the UK, until recently, there was consensus that liberalised markets offered the best solution and we were seen as a safe haven for investors.

"But the recent threat of an energy price freeze from the opposition Labour Party, which could win power in next year's election, has changed all that."

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