National Grid has announced the start of commercial operations Thursday of its second capacity expansion, delivered on time and to budget, at the company's Isle of Grain LNG importation facility.
Following the arrival of the first commissioning cargo of LNG on 29 October, the commissioning process has been completed in just over a month, delivering a 50 percent increase in terminal capacity for the start of winter. The expansion provides capacity for new customers E.ON Ruhrgas and Iberdrola, together with additional capacity for existing customer Centrica. It marks the successful conclusion of a significant period of construction and commissioning with an overall investment by National Grid of more than £800 million and giving Grain LNG the capacity to supply around 20 percent of UK demand, or up to 12 million houses per day.
Grain has the largest tank capacity of any terminal in the UK with total LNG storage availability of one million cubic meters, equivalent to more than two days' worth of average UK gas demand. The new second unloading jetty, capable of berthing and unloading Q-Max vessels, the largest available LNG carriers in the world, ensures National Grid continues to pioneer the way as Britain's first and largest modern LNG importation terminal.
National Grid is progressing discussions on a further phase of expansion at the terminal with a number of interested parties through an open season process. Timescales and capacity will depend on final market interest, but additional capacity could be available from winter 2015/16.
Peter Boreham, National Grid's Director of UK LNG, said: "This latest expansion of our Grain LNG terminal is a real boost for Britain's ability to secure gas from diverse sources, giving the capacity to bring in another 6.7 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
"It's been a great achievement to deliver such a major investment to time and to budget, while still meeting the daily operational needs of our existing customers. With discussions about a further phase of the terminal continuing in a very positive way, it cements our position as the UK's leading LNG importation terminal with a great track record of delivering what we promise."
National Grid Grain LNG provides open access to the British gas market, Europe's largest, as well as the mainland European market and is an independent operator with no gas market interests.
Energy Minister Charles Hendry said: "With the widespread cold hitting the UK, it brings home the importance of secure energy supplies for everyone across the country.
"This Government is committed to ensuring we keep the lights on, and having diverse supplies is crucial to this. This expansion of National Grid's Grain LNG terminal is very welcome news. The UK still has substantial oil and gas resources, but projects like this also give us access to LNG from as far afield as Algeria, Qatar, Trinidad, and even from Australia."