Ian Liddell-Grainger, the Conservative MP and member of the parliamentary business and energy select committee, said: "Passing on price rises to the consumer would be totally unfair because it's not their fault and this is nothing to do with them.
"The big energy companies buy their gas and oil about six months in advance, so there should be no need to increase bills. "They should continue to honour their commitments to consumers. If they pass this on to their customers, it would be a disgrace." As well as problems affecting the Forties pipeline in Aberdeenshire and the Baumgarten facility in Austria, a series of smaller setbacks also added to the sense of crisis.