Interconnector, which runs the gas pipeline between the UK and Belgium, said a technical problem related to a water/glycol pump at its Bacton gas terminal had forced the shutdown.
Gas prices for same-day delivery jumped to 150p per therm, more than 50pc above Thursday’s closing price and the highest level seen since March 2006. Week-ahead gas surged as much as 37pc to 135p a therm, also a seven-year high.
The Interconnector is one of Britain’s main gas import pipelines. This week, it set a new record, exporting 783 gigawatt-hours of gas from Belgium to Britain.
Weeks of cold weather have left national gas supplies at critically low levels, prompting fears of a new wave of engery bill increases.
If the pipeline remains shut for a number of days, Britain’s grid operator could be forced to trigger emergency supply options, including reducing demand from contracted users.
UK gas prices jump to seven year high as pipeline forced to shut down