RUSSIAN GAS FOR BRITAIN AGAIN
FT - The first tanker of liquefied natural gas to depart a new facility on the US east coast has changed course mid-Atlantic and is heading for the UK, the day after questions were raised in Westminster about rising UK imports of Russian LNG.
The Gemmata LNG tanker, which left the newly opened Cove Point terminal in Maryland roughly 10 days ago, has turned north east 1,500km off the coast of Suriname and is said to be heading for the Dragon LNG terminal in south Wales.
The FT reported this week that of the six LNG tankers that have made deliveries into the UK so far in 2018 three have carried cargoes originally from Russia, leading to questions about whether Moscow was gaining a foothold in the UK gas market after starting up the Yamal LNG facility in Siberia late last year.
With tension between the UK and Russia at the highest level since the cold war, following the alleged nerve agent attack by Russia on a former spy in Salisbury, prime minister Theresa May said on Wednesday that "in looking at our gas supplies we are indeed looking at other countries".
Rising US exports of LNG have been dubbed "liquid freedom" by US congressman Pete Olson from Texas, and President Donald Trump has openly spoken of pursuing a policy of "US energy dominance".
The shipment, however, is likely primarily chasing higher gas prices in the UK.
Gas prices have risen after a cold snap a few weeks ago drained supplies with more wintry weather expected to arrive this weekend. Royal Dutch Shell, which is lifting the initial cargoes from Cove Point, appears to have redirected the cargo having originally been sailing towards Asia around the southern tip of Africa.
Shell, the world's biggest traders of LNG, brought in one of the tankers of the super-cooled Russian fuel to the UK at the start of this month, making a delivery of part of its cargo before setting sail for Asia. Shell was not immediately available to comment on Thursday.
The Gemmata tanker is expected to arrive on March 20, according to data compiled by Reuters, who first reported it was coming to the UK.
Another cargo of LNG is also coming to the UK from Qatar, with the Duhail tanker expected to arrive at the South Hook terminal, also in south Wales, on March 24.
MP Stephen Crabb, who represents the Welsh constituency where two of the UK's three active LNG import terminals are based, said in parliament on Wednesday that if the UK has the need to import additional LNG "we have allies such as Qatar, Malaysia and Australia who are more than willing to sell it to us".
The Russian icebreaker-class LNG tanker, Eduard Toll, made a delivery to the UK Isle of Grain terminal in Kent earlier this week, becoming the third cargo of Siberian LNG to enter the UK market since the start of the year.
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