Liquefied natural gas terminal finishes busy season

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EUROPE’S largest liquefied natural gas terminal has completed its busiest period since the start of operations in 2005.

Over the last three months, 30 vessels have discharged their cargoes at National Grid’s Grain LNG terminal in Kent.

Liquefied natural gas is natural gas in liquid form and occupies 600 times less space than it does in its gaseous form, making it easier to store and transport.

It’s an important resource, as the UK increasingly relies on imported liquefied natural gas to top up gas supplies – it’s estimated that, by 2030, around 75% of the UK’s gas will be brought in from around the world.

An oversupplied global liquefied natural gas market means that gas that would otherwise have gone to the Far East is increasingly making its way to the UK and Northwest Europe.

In November last year, Grain LNG set a European record when it sent 698GWh of gas into the UK energy system – enough to supply all of London and the South East.

Of the 30 vessels, 16 were new to the terminal, which brings its own challenges.

All the ships have to go through an approval process, which sees safety inspectors braving rough seas in small boats to check them over, but all were inspected and approved without delays.

Roy Thomas, Grain LNG Marine Superintendent, commented: “It’s been a massive team effort.

“It’s also been really inspiring to see how willing people are to help each other out, mostly in the early hours of the morning, in the wind and rain, during the Christmas and New Year period.

“All of us are motivated by knowing the vital contribution this terminal makes to ensuring a secure energy system for UK consumers.”