December 27, 2011 / 11:56 AM / 8 years ago

UK gas supplies choppy after North Sea storm

* No trading during extended UK Christmas weekend

* Stormy weather expected for Wednesday

LONDON, Dec 27 (Reuters) - The UK gas system was tight on Tuesday after a storm took out Norwegian North Sea gas flows to Britain, but low demand at the end of Christmas meant that supplies remained unthreatened.

Due to the extended Christmas bank holiday, there was no gas trading for the UK’s national balancing point (NBP) on Tuesday.

Norwegian gas flows to the United Kingdom remained choppy on Tuesday as power began returning to Royal Dutch Shell’s Ormen Lange gas processing plant after storms cut off its electricity.

Shell’s plant on the Norwegian coast, which gets power from Norway’s public grid, can provide some 20 percent of Britain’s gas demand through the Langeled pipeline.

Power failed at key spots on Sunday and Monday as Atlantic storm Dagmar harried Norway’s coast.

Langeled flows to the UK had dropped from 60 tio 70 million cubic metres (mcm) per day over the Christmas weekend to around 10 mcm on Monday and by Tuesday morning supplies were still choppy around 25 mcm, according to data from the UK’s National Grid.

WEATHER

On Tuesday officials in Norway warned of potential new trouble for power distribution and road and train traffic as a second storm hit.

Britain’s Met Office also issued severe weather warnings for Northern Britain, and especially Scotland.

Conditions would be “windy across the UK with gales or severe gales in the North. Frequent showers across northern and northwestern areas with some hill snow. Feeling much colder than recent days,” the Met Office said.

For the New Year holiday weekend, Point Carbon’s weather forecasters said that a deep low over Iceland would be dominating the UK, creating fresh to strong westerly winds and mild conditions of 8-11 degrees Celsius.

DEMAND AND SUPPLY

British gas demand for Tuesday stood at 260.5 mcm, down 60 mcm from the seasonal norm.

But the North Sea outages meant that despite the low demand, the system would be 35.5 mcm short, meaning that suppliers would have to increase imports from continental Europe or withdraw gas from storage.

NBP gas storage levels stood around 86.8 percent at the beginning of this week, according to data from Gas Infrastructure Europe, down 10 percent since early December.

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