LONDON Dec 4 Britain's gas imports from Belgium
surged to a record at the start of the winter season in October
and November, the operator of the gas link said, compensating
for lower supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar.
The UK imported a net 8,600 gigawatt hours (GWh) of gas from
Belgium, equivalent to about 812 mcm, in the two months, versus
a previous October-November record in 2004 of 6,000 GWh, the
"The current gas year, commencing 1 October, has seen record
UK imports through the Interconnector pipeline," Interconnector
UK Ltd. said in a statement.
At the same time, Qatar, the UK's biggest supplier of LNG,
has been diverting shipments away from Britain to higher-paying
markets in Asia, and maintenance outages further reduced output
at some Qatari export plants in September and October.
"The start of December has seen continuing high UK import
rates and the usual speculation in the market about both the
winter weather to come and the UK supply situation," the
pipeline operator said.
Imports via the Britain-Belgium interconnector were at 29
mcm/day on Tuesday, flow data on the pipeline operator's website
Britain increasingly depends on seaborne gas imports to
offset falling output from mature North Sea fields, especially
during peak demand winter months.
A cut in LNG imports, however, has increased demand for gas
through the sub-sea interconnector with Belgium.
Britain imports most of its gas from Norway via two sub-sea
pipelines and receives some gas via a link with the Netherlands.
(Reporting by Oleg Vukmanovic; editing by Jane Baird)