The United Kingdom’s Security of Gas Supply Post Brexit: Comparing the Legal Aspects of Potential Options
This master thesis examines the United Kingdom’s security of gas supply post-Brexit. The United Kingdom’s main energy source is gas, which is either imported from continental Europe and Norway, or shipped, in the form of liquefied natural gas from around the world. Given the size of the population in the United Kingdom and the declining North Sea gas reserves, it is highly dependent on imports of gas and the crucial political issue is to safeguard the supply of gas. The importance of guaranteeing the supply of gas justifies some degree of legal regulation to organize activities among actors involved in the gas market. Thus, the United Kingdom as a current Member State in the European Union adopts energy legislation, in accordance with the energy legislation adopted by the European Union. However, the Brexit threatens the security of the United Kingdom’s gas supply, as the current legal framework governing gas security in the United Kingdom, which follows the European Internal Energy Market, will be terminated upon withdrawal. Existing options post-Brexit available to the United Kingdom for it to safeguard its supply of gas range between two extremes: continued access to the internal energy market and adoption of regulations thereto (‘soft Brexit’) on the one hand, and no further preferential relationship with the EU (‘hard Brexit’), on the other hand. Between these two extremes there are a range of different options allowing for closer cooperation with the European Union than the ‘hard Brexit’ provides (‘grey’ Brexit). This thesis identifies existing options available to the United Kingdom to secure its supply of gas, as well as studies and compares the legal aspects of these options.