Conventional attack - gas infrastructure

This risk is featured in the full matrix, representing the averages of multiple different scenarios presented together in the ‘conventional attack on infrastructure’ category.

Impact 5
risk indicator
ID 10
Risk theme Terrorism
Impact & Likelihood
Impact key
5 Catastrophic
4 Significant
3 Moderate
2 Limited
1 Minor
Likelihood key
5 >25%
4 5-25%
3 1-5%
2 0.2-1%
1 <0.2%


Gas infrastructure may represent a potential target to terrorist groups with the intent to cause widespread disruption. The Russia-Ukraine war has seen a number of attacks on gas infrastructure (in Ukraine). The UK has a diverse and highly resilient gas network. Industry works to continuously minimise the risk of unplanned disruption while taking the risk of such outages into account in forward planning. Both the government and the Gas System Operator have robust response plans in place in the unlikely event a significant gas supply disruption should occur.


The reasonable worst-case scenario is based on a terrorist attack on gas infrastructure which results in a significant loss of gas supply capacity to the UK. Domestic gas customers in the directly impacted region would lose their gas supply. There would be casualties and fatalities from a lack of heating, access to necessary medical treatment, exacerbation of an existing condition or limited ability to use gas-fired cookers safely. However, impacts would depend on the scale of disruption.

Emergency procedures could be required to safely balance and maintain pressure on the gas network by stopping supply to large industrial users, including electricity generating stations. Priority of gas supply would be given to domestic users (as they take longer to reconnect following disconnection for safety reasons). Within this process, some critical sites would be prioritised for supply. Disconnecting gas supply to electricity generating stations could cause a shortfall in electricity supply. In the event of a prolonged electricity supply shortfall, rolling power cuts lasting up to 3 hours may be required to balance supply and demand. Within this process, some critical sites would be protected from disruption, with the remaining disconnections being evenly distributed across Great Britain. Further information on established emergency procedures for a gas or electricity emergency can be found in the National Emergency Plan for Downstream Gas and Electricity on GOV.UK.

Response capability requirements

There would need to be preparations in place to support wider recovery and the continued operation of multiple sectors. This includes functioning telecoms, emergency services and fuel distribution.


Restoration of the affected gas infrastructure could take approximately 3 months, at which point rolling power cuts would no longer be required, as gas supplies to electricity power stations would resume. It would take a further week for industrial gas customers to be fully restored and weeks or months for some sites to return to service. It would take several months to restore domestic gas customers impacted by the initial loss of supply.