As Boris Johnson announced last March that he was plunging the country into lockdown, Daniel Kretinsky went shopping in Hampshire. The Prague-based tycoon, known as the Czech Sphinx for his inscrutability, bought the Humbly Grove gas storage facility near Basingstoke from Malaysian oil behemoth Petronas. Gas storage sites — there are only eight large facilities in Britain, mostly owned by big energy companies such as EDF and Scottish Power — buy up gas during the summer months, inject it into their underground storage caverns and sell it on over winter when homes need heating and prices are higher. When Kretinsky’s firm, EP UK Investments, bought Humbly Grove, gas was changing hands for 22p a therm. Last week, record demand triggered by shortages across Europe sent it rocketing to 185p.
Times 26th Sept 2021 read more »