UK seeks long-term gas deal with Qatar, asks to become 'supplier of last resort’ -FT

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A section of gas pipeline is seen at a National Grid facility near Knutsford

(Reuters) - The British government has approached Qatar to seek a long-term gas deal and shore up supplies as a natural gas shortage in Europe has led to soaring wholesale prices, the Financial Times reported on Friday.

British ministers and their counterparts from the world's largest producer of liquefied natural gas have held talks over a long-term arrangement where Qatar would become a "supplier of last resort," the newspaper reported, citing people briefed on the discussions.

UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the Qatari government did not immediately respond to a Reuters' request for a comment on Friday.

Qatar has also rerouted four large tankers to the UK over the past two weeks, the report added.

The shipments were made after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the Qatari emir, for help at a recent meeting, FT said, citing a person familiar with the talks.

Natural gas prices have spiked this year as economies reopened from COVID-19 lockdowns and high demand for LNG in Asia pushed down supplies to Europe, sending shockwaves through industries reliant on power.

Britain is pursuing a potential long-term deal given concerns over increased competition for LNG supplies with Asia, the report added.

Britain's energy sector is reeling under the soaring energy costs. Earlier this week, British business energy supplier CNG Energy Ltd ceased trading, joining 17 energy suppliers in the country that have gone bust since September.

(Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Reese)

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