London — UK Prime Minister Theresa May said Wednesday the UK was "looking to other countries" for gas supply due to deteriorating relations with Russia triggered by the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal in the UK.
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May was asked in the UK Parliament Wednesday by Conservative lawmaker Stephen Crabb whether she agreed that the UK "should not provide a market for Russian gas.
She said: "Can I reassure [you] that when we are looking at our gas supplies, we are looking to other countries."
Crabb also suggested that if the UK needed additional LNG imports it should instead look to "allies such as Qatar, Malaysia and Australia who are more than willing to sell it to us." The UK is less dependent than much of Europe on direct Russian gas supplies, but it does buy gas from Gazprom Export and Gazprom's UK-based trading arm Gazprom Marketing & Trading.
For instance, UK utility Centrica has a long-term contract with GMT for the supply of an average of 4.2 Bcm a year of gas.
One cargo of LNG from the newly operational Yamal LNG facility in northern Russia has also been delivered into the UK grid since the plant started up in December, with one other re-exported to the US.
A third cargo from Yamal LNG landed at the Isle of Grain LNG import terminal on Tuesday and offloaded its cargo, though it is unclear whether the gas will enter the UK grid or be re-exported to a different destination.
May's comments come after the government earlier Wednesday said it would introduce a series of measures against Russia over the Skripal poisoning, including expelling 23 diplomats and freezing Russian state assets "wherever we have the evidence that they may be used to threaten the life or property of UK nationals or residents."
GAS TRADER REACTION
The UK day-ahead contract ticked down on Wednesday, trading at 60 p/th, as UK gas traders shrugged off May's comments.
A trader said that May's comments looked "very vague" and that there was "nothing she could do in reality."
Another trader said: "Until we see gas switched off, I think nothing much is going to happen."
The increased rhetoric around Russian gas supplies to the UK has also prompted a response from the UK GMB labor union, which said the UK should invest more in its own energy sector so it would not be reliant on foreign suppliers.
"We need a serious strategy and investment in UK energy to make sure we can stand on our own two feet," it said. "We cannot and should not be beholden to foreign powers who could turn the tap off."
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