UK natural gas prices reached record highs this week, reflecting a global trend as economic recovery from Covid-19 lockdowns coincides with growing demand for liquefied natural gas from Asia, lower than expected supplies into Europe from Gazprom and, to complicate matters further, maintenance and repair on key North Sea infrastructure.

Benchmark wholesale UK gas prices have more than trebled this year, jumping to 218 pence per therm in late morning trading on Tuesday.

The surge prompted UK Business & Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to warn last week that the government has not ruled out imposing a windfall tax on those profiting from the crisis, reflecting the thinking behind measures already taken in Spain.