UK may lose 6 percent of summer gas due to North Sea leak

Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:00am EDT
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By Karolin Schaps

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain could be facing as much as a 6 percent cut to gas supplies this summer due to the closure of three large fields following a leak found beneath Total's (TOTF.PA: Quote) Elgin platform, National Grid (NG.L: Quote) said on Tuesday.

Total's Elgin and Franklin fields and Shell's (RDSa.L: Quote) neighboring Shearwater site were shut down in late March following the evacuation of the Elgin platform after workers detected a gas leak.

"The impact of the Elgin gas leak is uncertain but may result in displacement of up to 2.3 bcm (billion cubic meters)," the grid operator said in its summer 2012 outlook report.

Gas supply had been forecast to reach 36 bcm this summer, National Grid said, meaning impact from Elgin threatens a 6 percent cut in production.

The loss is likely to be covered by additional output from other offshore fields and higher imports from Norway, the grid operator said, easing concerns of a supply shortage.


Supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) is also expected to drop this summer as Asian buyers offer higher premiums than Europeans.

Britain has grown increasingly reliant on LNG imports mostly from Qatar but the National Grid expects a sharp fall this summer.   Continued...