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U.K. Week-Ahead Natural Gas Rises a Fifth Day on Cooler Weather

March 6 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. natural gas for next-week delivery climbed for a fifth day as weather models predicted a return to freezing weather across the country, potentially boosting demand for the heating fuel.

The contract rose as much as 2.6 percent, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg. The average temperature next week will be minus 0.1 degree Celsius (32 Fahrenheit), the lowest in at least 10 years, MetraWeather data on Bloomberg using the ECMWF model show. The temperature will fall as low as minus 2.3 degrees at midnight on March 15, the GFS model shows.

Gas for next week added 1.3 percent to 77 pence a therm at 5:02 p.m. London time. Next-month gas was little changed at 68.65 pence a therm. That’s equivalent to $10.32 per million British thermal units and compares with $3.50 per million Btu of front-month U.S. gas.

Demand in the 24 hours to 6 a.m. tomorrow is forecast at 315 million cubic meters, up from a seasonal normal of 287 million, National Grid Plc data show. The delivery network will contain 329 million cubic meters of gas at the end of the period, down from 351 million at the beginning, grid data show.

A 33 million cubic-meter-a-day cut in supplies from Norway’s Nyhamna gas platform ended at 6 a.m. Oslo time today, Gassco AS said yesterday on its website.

Flows from Norway, the U.K.’s biggest source of imported gas, were at 113 million cubic meters a day, after reaching 117 million, the most since Feb. 28 and up from 34 million on March 3, Gassco AS data show.

Record Imports

The U.K. imported a record 694 gigawatt-hours (65 million cubic meters) of gas from Belgium yesterday, pipeline operator Interconnector (U.K.) Ltd. said in an e-mailed statement today. The reversible link was shipping 57 million cubic meters a day to Britain at 4:43 p.m., Interconnector data show.

Total SA can restart its Elgin-Franklin gas platform in the North Sea when it sees fit, the U.K. Health and Safety Executive said today. The facility has been shut since March 25 last year following a leak.

Gas accounted for 33 percent of U.K. power production at 4:40 p.m., grid data show. Coal generated 42 percent, nuclear 14 percent and wind 4.2 percent.

RWE AG said its 2,000-megawatt Didcot-A coal power plant will shut permanently March 22. Drax Plc halted its 645-megawatt unit 2 for maintenance yesterday until April 2. Electricite de France SA delayed the start of its 550-megawatt Dungeness B-21 reactor by two days to March 9.

Electricity for tomorrow slipped 1.2 percent to 53.25 pounds a megawatt-hour, broker data show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Brown in London at mbrown42@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lars Paulsson at lpaulsson@bloomberg.net

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