US produced shale gas reached British homes and power plants for the first time ever. Last week, the UK took a delivery from America with liquefied natural gas as the LNG Carrier GALEA arrived at the Isle of Grain port in Kent, 60 kilometer east of London. The Isle of Grain-Terminal has got a capacity of one million cubic meters of LNG, making it Europe's largest installation of that kind.
The GALEA made her way from the Gulf of Mexico and had enough LNG loaded to meet half the daily consumption of LNG in the United Kingdom. It took 30 hours to unload the ship’s cargo tanks at the Grain Terminal. The gas can be feed into the supply grid within an hour.
The long-awaited transport comes amid rising gas supply concerns in UK after Centrica, the British Gas owner, said it would shut down UK's most important gas storage facility after 30 years of service. In addition, North Sea gas reserves continue to decline and make the UK increasingly dependent on long-term supply contracts with other countries. Pipeline gas from Norway and LNG imports from Qatar are UK's most important supply lines. In 2016, UK received 34% of its gas demands from Norway. This value has already increased to 42%, according to the market data provider ICIS.
The United States on the other hand are emerging as a new major energy player. The recent boom in shale gas production turned the former import hungry superpower to an upcoming export nation. This leads to major international disputes, such as the most recent US sanction against the Russian pipeline Nord Stream 2.