Cassim Mangerah, who runs energy trading at Centrica, told the Financial Times that a long or especially cold winter would push prices higher and force some energy-hungry companies to limit production.
Natural gas is already trading at a steep price, but a winter supply crunch could push costs up even more after suppliers struggled to fill their storage capacity over summer, the FT said.
“We haven’t seen a price situation like this before. If you can’t attract supply the only alternative is to cut demand to balance the market,” Mangerah said.
“If we do see a supply crunch this winter the other way to balance the market is through economic activity. If prices are really high then some gas-dependent businesses in the UK and Europe may simply decide not to produce.”
Centrica shares were 3.1% higher at 53.8p in early afternoon trade.