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First Australian gas in six years to land on UK shores

Europe has not imported any liquified natural gas from Australia for more than half a decade.

August Graham
Monday 22 August 2022 11:42 BST
The gas will be taken ashore at National Grid’s LNG terminal on the Isle of Grain (Gareth Fuller/PA)
The gas will be taken ashore at National Grid’s LNG terminal on the Isle of Grain (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Archive)

The first Australian gas shipment to Europe in more than half a decade is set to dock in the south of England on Monday, as gas shortages bite across the continent.

The Attalos gas tanker is set to pull into the Isle of Grain terminal in Kent, by the mouth of the Thames during the day.

It brings a rare cargo of liquified natural gas (LNG) from Australia to Europe, the first in six years, according to data from Bloomberg.

Some of the gas is likely to be used in the UK straight away, but much of it will probably flow to Europe through the pipelines that connect Britain to the continent.

There it might be channelled into European gas storage sites and some of it could return to Britain during winter.

The UK has some of the highest LNG import capacity in Europe, but it has very little gas storage.

Therefore, much of the LNG that comes to Europe this summer will arrive in British ports, but be shipped over to European storage sites.

The Attalos departed Malaysia on July 20, according to data from Vessel Finder.

Here it had picked up a shipment of gas that had come from Australia.

Because of the long distances involved, it is rare for Australian gas to find its way to Europe.

Most instead goes to countries in Asia.

The container port at the Isle of Grain (Medway Council/PA) (PA Media)

But the deep gas crisis that Europe is currently facing has catapulted the need for new sources of the fossil fuel.

Gas prices have soared manifold in the last year, and the UK price for delivery next month was up another 17% on Monday morning, hitting £5.40p per therm.

At the weekend experts predicted that the average household energy bill is likely to soar to more than £6,000 per year from next April.

It is a dire warning for struggling households, and Monday’s gas price hike will only add to these woes.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday, Octopus Energy chief executive Greg Jackson said that if the price of beer had risen as much as gas prices, getting a pint would cost £25.

“People don’t know what a therm is, but, underneath it, the price per therm has gone from 60p to around £5 at the moment and that’s what’s passing through to customers if we don’t do something,” he said.

He added: “There are systemic issues.

“There are loads of questions of how we pay for this.

“One thing we can’t do is be expected to pass those costs on to consumers.”

Soaring gas prices are also adding to the bill that will be hitting households to prop up failed energy supplier Bulb.

According to new research by Auxilione, an energy consultancy, and shared with the Financial Times this weekend, the cost of bailing out Bulb might cost £4 billion by this spring.

Ministers stepped in to rescue Bulb as it was considered too big to fail.

Many of its rivals had gone out of business.

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