December 7, 2010 / 4:37 PM / 9 years ago

UK LNG imports to rise, U.S. seen LNG exporter-SSE

LONDON, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Britain’s dependence on shipped gas imports is predicted to grow to 40 percent by 2020, while the U.S. is expected to soon become an exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), major UK energy companies said on Tuesday.

Britain currently imports around 22 percent of its gas demand in the form of LNG, according to government figures. With demand levels expected to rise and indigenous production set to drop, Britain will depend more and more on imports.

“By the time we get to 2020 we’ll see probably 40 percent of gas coming into the UK from LNG and significant amounts from Norway and Europe as well,” said Alistair Philips-Davies, energy supply director at Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE.L), one of UK’s ‘big six’ utilities questioned by British parliamentarians.

One of the countries which could be supplying Britain with gas in future is the U.S.

“The United States is going to be the next exporting country in the not too distant future with shale gas,” said Paul Golby, chief executive of E.ON UK (EONGn.DE).

Golby cited as an example last month’s U.S.-loaded LNG cargo which arrived in Britain, the first in 50 years. [ID:nLDE6AI1OM]

The U.S. has seen an oversupply in domestic gas as gas extracted from rocks - also known as shale gas - has swamped the market. (Reporting by Karolin Schaps; editing by James Jukwey)

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