For the first time in 20 years the UK will receive liquefied natural gas from Air Products to supply a new LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) receiving terminal.

The terminal is owned by Grain LNG Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of National Grid Transco, on the Isle of Grain in the Medway Estuary. The terminal is designed to import 3.3 million tonnes of LNG per year as indigenous North Sea production is set to decline.

BP and Sonatrach will supply LNG to the Grain LNG terminal where an Air Products facility will help adjust it to the appropriate UK natural gas specifications.

The terminal is the first of several planned UK LNG import terminals. Air Products have decided to adopt a two-phase approach in order to meet the project schedule.

Phase one involves Air Products installing a large liquefied nitrogen storage and delivery system. During this phase the system will be supplied from its network of air separation units. Phase one is to be completed within one year of the contract agreement.

Phase two consists of Air Products building, owning and operating a nitrogen generation plant that will come on stream in the Autumn of 2005, producing in excess of 300 tonnes of nitrogen per day.

Alan Belk, the General Manager of European Business Development for Tonnage Gases, explained that it is an important project, “This is one of the UK’s first new LNG import terminals. It will be on-steam around two years ahead of the other terminals, which are in various stages of development, so it’s a major breakthrough project for us to be involved in. We all have an incentive to ensure the Isle of Grain project is a success, with the UK becoming ever more dependent on imported gas as the North Sea production declines”.