LONDON, Jan. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- Britain, once an energy exporter, will import about half of its gas needs by 2010, according to a BBC report on Wednesday.
By 2020, existing North Sea gas fields will be supplying only 10 percent of the gas needed in Britain, the report said.
The existing pipeline to Belgium, which has been used to exportgas to continental Europe, is being upgraded to be able to deliver 15 percent of the UK's peak gas demand by the end of this year.
A new interconnector to be built between Holland and Bacton will supply a further 10 percent.
The biggest pipeline of all is due to be completed later this year. The Langeled pipe will link Britain directly to a huge gas field off the coast of Norway, which will be capable of supplying 16 percent of the UK's peak demand when it is fully operational.
A small amount of gas is also imported as liquefied natural gas(LNG) via a terminal on the Isle of Grain, in Medway, Kent, which was opened last year.
At the same time, new import terminals for LNG are being built at Milford Haven in Wales.
Those terminals are due to start receiving gas in late 2007. When they are fully operational, they will be capable of handling about 20 percent of Britain's gas.
The LNG for Milford Haven will be supplied under long-term contract from the Gulf state of Qatar.
And by the end of the decade, Britain will have a reasonably diverse range of suppliers, including the Middle East and Norway.
But up to a quarter of the UK's gas will be coming from the continental network, whose biggest supplier is Russia.
And the terms on which Russia supplies gas to the European network will be very important in determining the price Britain pays for gas in future.
At present, 40 percent of Britain's electricity is generated from gas.
That figure will rise in the coming years as the current generation of nuclear power stations are decommissioned. Enditem