The first tanker of liquefied natural gas to depart a new facility on the US east coast has changed course mid-Atlantic and is heading for the UK, the day after questions were raised in Westminster about rising UK imports of Russian LNG.
The Gemmata LNG tanker, which left the newly opened Cove Point terminal in Maryland roughly 10 days ago, has turned north east 1,500km off the coast of Suriname and is said to be heading for the Dragon LNG terminal in south Wales.
The FT reported this week that of the six LNG tankers that have made deliveries into the UK so far in 2018 three have carried cargoes originally from Russia, leading to questions about whether Moscow was gaining a foothold in the UK gas market after starting up the Yamal LNG facility in Siberia late last year.
With tension between the UK and Russia at the highest level since the cold war, following the alleged nerve agent attack by Russia on a former spy in Salisbury, prime minister Theresa May said on Wednesday that “in looking at our gas supplies we are indeed looking at other countries”.
Rising US exports of LNG have been dubbed “liquid freedom” by US congressman Pete Olson from Texas, and President Donald Trump has openly spoken of pursuing a policy of “US energy dominance”.
The shipment, however, is likely primarily chasing higher gas prices in the UK.