Warnings have been issued about the supply of energy across Europe for next Christmas.

Expert eyes have already turned to Christmas 2023, as the continent has managed to keep lights on throughout the Christmas period despite the ongoing energy crisis.

However, experts are already concerned that the issue could still exist next year, and perhaps even get worse.

In December, one of the UK’s most respected energy consultancies warned gas prices could remain high until the end of the decade.

The Argus:

It comes as Britons are being forced to shell out more than ever before to keep their homes warm this winter. The same goes for most countries in Europe, where gas and electricity prices have soared over the last year and a half.

The continent’s situation next winter will to no small extent, depend on how cold January, February and March prove to be, experts say.

If the weather is unseasonably warm, people are unlikely to need as much gas to heat their homes, leaving European gas storage sites with more reserves when winter ends.

This would make it easier for the continent to replenish its stocks over the summer, even without Russian gas.

Martin Young, a senior analyst at Investec, said there will also be a little more wind power brought online before next winter, which will help with electricity supply. However, there is still uncertainty over some coal and nuclear electricity generators.

The Argus:

The Government struck a deal with old coal power plants that were being decommissioned that they would be available to power up this winter if needed. So far this has not been necessary, but ministers might want to extend that into next winter.

“My gut feeling is that we won’t see huge changes on the supply side in the UK, it will ultimately depend on where we exit winter if you look at the wider European context,” he said.

Although supplies from Russia were drying up last summer, some gas was still coming through, allowing Europeans to put it aside for a rainy day.

Next summer the pipelines that connect Russia to Europe are likely to be all but shut off.

As a result much of the gas imported to the continent will have to be brought in via ships from the US, Qatar and elsewhere.

However, there are a limited number of liquid natural gas (LNG) tankers in the world, and a limited number of places where they can dock in Europe.

Gas from Norway and the UK’s gas fields will also serve to replenish Europe’s stocks over the warmer months when households and businesses need less gas.

But although LNG can offer a partial solution to the supply of gas to Europe, it cannot push gas prices down to where they used to be. LNG is already an expensive way to transport gas – it takes a lot of energy and expensive equipment to get and keep it cold enough for the tankers.

And because LNG tankers can travel anywhere they want, to secure the vital gas that it needs, Europe will have to outbid what buyers around the world are willing to pay.