Centrica secures LNG cargo from Qatar

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, Nov. 4 -- Centrica PLC will import its first cargo of LNG from Qatar later this month to commission the second expansion phase of the Isle of Grain LNG terminal in Kent.

The cargo from RasGas Co. Ltd. will be the UK's largest ever LNG delivery, according to Centrica, and is a crucial step in helping the country address its dwindling indigenous supplies from the North Sea.

National Grid PLC owns the terminal, and Centrica has the rights to import 3.4 billion cu m/year of gas for the next 20 years.

"RasGas will use one of the new generation of high capacity Q-Flex super-tankers, the Al Khuwair. It is among the world's largest LNG carriers and the largest gas vessel to call at a British port," Centrica said.

The tanker will deliver up to 50 million therms of gas, which represents about 35% of total UK demand on an average winter day.

The company's chief executive, Sam Laidlaw, is in Qatar on a trade delegation visit with the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other British CEOs.

Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica, said: "Our capacity at Isle of Grain is just one of many strategic investments Centrica is making in new gas and power assets to secure the UK's future energy needs."

LNG, increasingly important for the UK, is expected to make up 28% of the UK's total supply by 2017, according to National Grid's 2008 forecast. This year the UK will import 40% of its gas demand, rising to 75% by 2015.

Under a 19-year contract, Centrica also has the rights to an additional 2.4 billion cu m/year of gas due to be available in 2010-11 in the third phase of the Isle of Grain expansion. This will mean that almost 30% of the terminal's total capacity will be available to supply British Gas customers from that time and, overall, the Isle of Grain will then be capable of supplying 20% of the UK's annual demand.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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