The chairman of the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has levelled an accusation at Russia over its role in the gas price crisis.
In an op-ed in The Times newspaper, Tim Eggar said “Russia has no apparent interest in combatting climate change, but a great deal of interest in using energy supplies as a weapon”.
It comes as a group of cross-party lawmakers last week called on the European Commission to investigate the role of Gazprom in the recent spike in natural gas prices.
More than 40 members of the EU legislature said recent actions by the state-controlled gas exporter raise suspicions of a deliberate effort to use energy prices to apply political pressure to Europe.
Russia wants approval to start up the now-completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline, but needs regulatory approvals from the EU and Germany to do so.
The pipeline will double Moscow’s gas exports to Germany and circumvent Ukraine which relies on existing pipelines for income.
Wholsesale gas prices have spiked across Europe, with Oil and Gas UK saying prices have spiked 70% since August alone.
The OGA op-ed from Mr Eggar was mainly aimed at underscoring the importance of domestic production in the UK, rather than put greater reliance on imports which carry a higher carbon footprint.
He said: The UK can produce gas with a lower carbon footprint than almost all other producing countries.
“Shipping in more from overseas would further reduce our energy security at a time when Russia has no apparent interest in combatting climate change, but a great deal of interest in using energy supplies as a weapon.
“Responsibility for our decarbonisation would pass to other countries, many of which have less ambitious plans for reducing emissions from oil and gas production.
“We might marginally reduce the UK’s emissions, but the world’s emissions would increase.
“Tens of thousands of oil and gas jobs would be jeopardised, too.”