November 19, 2010 / 4:51 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-UK's Centrica brings in LNG from U.S.

(Updates with identity of importer, background)

LONDON, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Britain’s biggest energy supplier has taken delivery of the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be re-exported from the United States to the UK.

The Maersk Meridian tanker arrived at the Isle of Grain terminal near London on Thursday night, according to terminal operator National Grid, to deliver to Centrica (CNA.L), the owner of British Gas. [ID:nWLA8627]

A spokesman for Centrica declined to say who the cargo was bought from or how much was paid for it.

The shale-gas saturated United States started re-exporting LNG to higher-paying markets in Asia, South America, and Spain earlier this year.

But the Meridian is the first to deliver to Britain super-cooled gas that had previously been imported to the United States, in response to a widening gulf between U.S. and UK prices. [ID:nLDE6A70P6]

U.S. gas prices have fallen more than 30 percent since the beginning of the year, pressured by a surge in North American gas production which has also reduced U.S. LNG imports to minimal contracted volumes, while UK prices have been rising since September.

The world’s first LNG tanker, the Methane Pioneer, carried a cargo from Lake Charles, Louisiana to Canvey Island in south-east England in 1959 but the gas was liquefied in the United States.

Total, Chevron and Cheniere own capacity rights at the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana where the re-exported cargo was loaded.

Following close behind the Meridian is the Maersk Marib, which is due to arrive from Yemen — another unusual source of gas for Britain — on Saturday. [LNG/TKUK] [LNG/TKUS] <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Graphics showing UK price premium to U.S:

link.reuters.com/nyr36q

link.reuters.com/zas36q

Analysis of U.S. exports to Europe: [ID:nLDE6A728G]

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Reporting by Daniel Fineren, additional reporting by Edward McAllister in New York; editing by Keiron Henderson

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