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U.K. to Become World’s Third-Biggest LNG Buyer

The U.K. may become the world's third-biggest importer and consumer of liquefied natural gas ( LNG ), after Britain surpassed the import statistics of Spain in 2010, a U.S.-based gas consultant on Wednesday said

Pan EurAsian Enterprises Inc. in Raleigh, North Carolina said Britain imported a record 19.6 million metric tonnes of LNG last year, a 32 percent increase from 14.8 million in 2010. Spain, on the other hand, imported only 17.4 million tonnes, an 18 percent drop from a year ago.

"A combination of economic problems in Spain plus the availability of gas via the Transmed pipeline are reducing Spain's purchases of LNG," Zach Allen, an analyst with Pan EurAsian, said. "I expect they have worked out a beneficial price arrangement with Algeria for gas via pipeline that makes that a better alternative than LNG imports."

Spain registered as the world's third-biggest LNG buyer in 2010, data from BP Plc's Annual Energy Review showed. Completing the top triumvirate were Japan and South Korea.

LNG, a most sought-after fuel commodity, is natural gas chilled to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 162 degrees Celsius), reducing it to one six-hundredth of its original volume for shipment by tankers.

According to the Japan's finance ministry, its imports of spot and term LNG through November 2011 jumped 12 per cent to 71.4 million tonnes from a year ago. The same with South Korea which bought 31.93 million tonnes from January to November 2011, a 9 per cent hike from the same period in 2010, data from the Korea Customs Service showed.

Another major consumer, France, imported 11.6 million tons, representing a 16 per cent hike from a year ago, Pan EurAsian said.

In November, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp said Japan's LNG demand will grow by 20 million tonnes in 2012.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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