Centrica increases LNG import capacity to supply British Gas customers

Centrica plc today announced it has secured additional import capacity at National Grid’s Isle of Grain LNG terminal in Kent from winter 2010/11, enabling it to increase the level of liquefied natural gas (LNG) it can import to supply British Gas customers . With the UK set to be around 50 per cent reliant on imported gas by 2010, the investment could see supplies arriving from an increasingly diverse range of international sources, including the Middle East and North and West Africa.

Centrica’s investment in new LNG import capacity will play a key role in securing the £310 million third phase expansion of the Isle of Grain terminal, with nearly 30 per cent of the terminal’s eventual capacity earmarked to supply British Gas customers. The company has acquired the rights to import an additional annual volume of 2.4 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year over 19 years at Isle of Grain in the third phase, building on its second phase capacity of 3.4 billion cubic metres per year over 20 years from winter 2008/9.

The investment is in addition to the billions of pounds Centrica has committed to long term gas contracts, which has helped underpin new gas pipelines to the UK from Norway and Holland. Centrica’s LNG capacity at Isle of Grain will further diversify its sources of supply into the UK, meeting approximately 16 per cent of British Gas’ current annual demand.

Sam Laidlaw, Chief Executive of Centrica, said: “LNG will play an increasingly important role in meeting the UK’s gas needs and this agreement is further evidence of Centrica being right at the forefront of major investment, thereby helping to secure future supplies for our British Gas customers.

“Additional import capacity at Isle of Grain will build on our recent success in securing gas exploration licences in the UK, Norway, Egypt and Trinidad, offering us a gateway to import gas from a range of international sources.”