11 May 2006 | Anusha Bradley
Energy buyers, suppliers and traders will have access to real-time information on UK gas supply levels from October.
Energy regulator Ofgem last week accepted a proposal made by watchdog Energywatch in 2004 to improve the transparency of the gas market by giving all players access to the same data.
Alistair Buchanan, Ofgem chief executive, said the information will help to reduce uncertainty.
From October, information on the amount of gas flowing into the UK from the North Sea, through interconnector pipelines and in storage sites and liquified natural gas (LNG) terminals, will be available from the National Grid website.
Allan Asher, Energywatch chief executive, said big gas purchasers had for "far too long" been forced to make decisions based on "uncertainty, fear and doubt" rather than market information.
"The lesson of last winter is that an already volatile gas market can spiral out of control if buyers don't know what's going on," he added.
Andrew McKenzie, gas purchasing manager at chemicals company INEOS Chlor, one of the largest buyers of natural gas in the UK, told SM
: "Anything which reduces market uncertainty and rumour can only be helpful."