The £430m interconnector between Zeebrugge and Bacton could start importing gas by the end of the year.
The pipeline, which started operating this month and has the capacity to ship 20bn m3 a year, was intended to export gas in its early years. But prices on the Continent are expected to fall significantly in the coming month as indexation to lower oil prices takes effect.
While contracts can be struck for deals in either direction, the actual gas flow through the line follows the larger volume of deals. With long-term UK export contracts covering 9bn m3 a year, it was thought the gas would continue to flow to the Continent.
However, at least one of the shippers involved said that the lower Continental prices, coupled with a severe British winter, could make it attractive for shippers to buy gas from the Continent or even repurchase supplies contracted for export to meet home demand.
Interconnector UK, the link’s operator, confirmed that flow is capable of being reversed easily.