ExxonMobil has supplied the UK market with gas for over 30 years. Sales in the UK represent around 18 per cent of the gas market in the UK, which is Europe's largest user of natural gas. Gas is sold to a range of customers including the power generation industry, and also gas distribution companies, who re-sell gas to customers in the industrial, commercial and domestic sectors.
European gas demand is expected to grow at about one per cent a year over the next 20 or so years, while regional production of natural gas is anticipated to begin declining in the next several years. This growing gap between demand and local production will result in a rapid increase in the need for imported gas supplies from new LNG and pipeline projects.
In the North Sea, through the ExxonMobil subsidiary Esso Exploration and Production UK Limited, the company is involved in multiple field developments, and has significant ownership interests in multiple offshore gas-gathering pipeline systems, and onshore processing facilities at Mossmorran in Scotland, and at Bacton in England. From its office in Leatherhead and, where necessary with consultation with other infrastructure owners, requests for third party access to these pipelines, processing and fractionation facilities are assessed.
ExxonMobil holds capacity in the new Langeled pipeline from Norway to the United Kingdom, and participates in the Gas Terra joint venture in the Netherlands, which holds capacity in the BBL pipeline from the Netherlands to the UK. Both pipelines started commercial operations in 2006 and provide additional gas import capacity to the UK.
To meet the growing demand for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in the UK, ExxonMobil participates in a joint venture with Qatar Petroleum and Total to bring LNG from Qatar to the UK. The South Hook LNG regasification terminal, at Milford Haven in South Wales, is one of Europe's largest LNG terminals. South Hook received its commissioning cargo in 2009 and became fully operational in April 2010. It has the capacity to receive and re-gasify 15.6 million tons of LNG per annum - enough to meet around 20 per cent of the UK's natural gas demand.