Energy Minister Chris Huhne on Tuesday ordered regulator Ofgem to investigate whether the UK has adequate gas supplies in the medium to long term amid declining domestic production and a mounting backlash against surging utility bills.

In a statement, Huhne said he had asked Ofgem to look into whether further action is needed to ensure that medium- to long-term gas supplies for consumers remain secure.

As our old coal and nuclear power stations shut down, gas can provide flexible and reliable backup electricity to complement the next generation of renewable and nuclear energy. Our analysis shows that it is likely to remain significant beyond 2030, particularly with commercial carbon capture and storage, he said.

(Reporting by Oleg Vukmanovic)