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Gazprom, Conoco offer space in pipeline to send gas to UK

OAO Gazprom, the world's biggest natural-gas producer and ConocoPhillips, are offering space to transport the fuel on the UK's largest natural-gas pipeline that connects Britain and mainland Europe. Russia's only gas exporter, one of the users of the Interconnector (UK) gas link, advertised space for sale to send gas to the UK from mainland Europe from Oct. 1 to Oct. 31, Interconnector said on its Web site. ConocoPhillips, the third-largest US oil company, advertised to sell space to send gas to the UK from Sept. 1 to March 31 next year, the Web site showed. “We have spare capacity that we would like to sell,” Anna Alf, head of western Europe gas sales at ZMB GmbH, a Gazprom marketing unit, said by phone from Berlin yesterday. “Any sale will depend on our gas position.” The pipe typically sends gas from Bacton in southeast England to Zeebrugge in Belgium during warmer months when gas use falls, and imports the fuel to the UK during winter. The direction of flow on the Interconnector is determined by the shippers that use it. Interconnector said last week an expansion of the pipe will be finished ahead of schedule, allowing shippers to import more gas into Britain. The expanded pipe will be available no later than Nov. 1, a month earlier than expected. Its capacity will be expanded to 23.5 billion cubic meters a year from the current level of 16.5 billion cubic meters, which is about 17% of Britain's annual demand. The expansion will help the UK, the European Union's biggest gas user, because it's relying on imports and stored gas to make up for declining production in the North Sea. The reversible Interconnector's owners include BG Group, Centrica Plc and E.ON AG of Germany, some of Europe's biggest energy traders. (Bloomberg)