* Four Qatari gas tankers head for UK
* Asian price slump drives supply back to Europe
LONDON, July 27 British gas prices for next week
fell on Friday morning ahead of the arrival of four giant
liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers from Qatar boosting
Gas for next-week delivery fell 0.80 pence to 54 pence a
therm amid an influx of LNG shipments that raised hopes of
higher terminal send-out and the prospect of packed storage
"We could see a tank-top situation at LNG terminals once
these deliveries come through," a trader with a major UK utility
Month-ahead gas slid nearly half a penny to 53.55 pence as
LNG shipments offset concerns over Norwegian maintenance
scheduled for August, the trader said.
"We expect higher send-outs from South Hook (LNG terminal)
next week as the cargo frequency probably is picking up,"
analysts at Point Carbon said.
A nosedive in spot LNG prices in Asia over the last month
signals the likely start of higher supply and lower prices for
gas shipped to Europe, LNG traders and analysts told Reuters
The price of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Asia has fallen
nearly 30 percent since June as collapsing demand from top
importer Japan silences the world's biggest spot market for the
Falling spot LNG prices in Asia to $13.50 a million British
thermal units (mmBtu) this week has narrowed price differentials
and slammed shut once lucrative arbitrage opportunities.
Seaborne deliveries to Europe slumped sharply for more than
a year as tankers were diverted to Asia to take advantage of the
biggest price differentials since 2009. That trend appears now
to have abated at least temporarily, with rising numbers of
tankers heading for Europe.
Drilling advances have led to a huge glut of shale gas in
the United States leaving Europe as the best alternative to Asia
for shipped LNG.
Gas for day-ahead delivery slipped almost a
penny to 53.65 pence.
Imports from the Netherlands and from Norway via the
Langeled pipeline together reached around 45 million cubic
metres per day on Friday, more than a quarter of the day's gas
Consumption levels were expected to remain weak with mild
weather forecasts reducing the need for heating and low demand
for British gas from continental Europe.
Further out, benchmark front-season prices fell
0.20 pence to 62.55 pence.
In Britain's wholesale power market, prompt prices were
unchaged at 41.70 pounds per megawatt-hour (MWh).
Day-ahead baseload power fell 65 pence to 41.70 pounds per
(Reporting by Oleg Vukmanovic, editing by William Hardy)