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UK spot gas prices continue slid from Tuesday's high as demand falls

UK spot gas prices were lower Thursday morning as demand fell back, pulled down by lower heating consumption, while problems at Norway's Asgard gas field were coming to an end.

Imports into the UK from Continental Europe also rose considerably, and flows into St Fergus Mobil returned, together reducing the need to call on storage withdrawals.

At 1100 GMT, the within-day contract was valued at 57.75 pence/therm, down by 1.85 p/th from Wednesday's market close. The day-ahead contract lost 0.75 p/th to be valued at 58.00 p/th.

National Grid, the system operator, showed the system long on gas through the morning. In its 11:00 am forecasts it had demand at 264 million cubic meters and supply at 286 million cu m.

Norway's Asgard field is expected back to normal Thursday. Norwegian export operator Gassco shows a 4.5 million cu m within-day impact from problems at the field, but expects the problems to be over Thursday morning.

Norway's Troll gas field still has an ongoing 12 million cu m/d reduction until December 11.

In the UK North Sea, Shell shut the Leman Alpha platform Monday after damage to a pipeline during a pressure transfer. Flows into Bacton Shell, which receives Leman Alpha gas, have dropped back from 13 million-14 million cu m/d to 10 million cu m/d since the incident.

Shell has not indicated when Leman Alpha will restart.

Continental flows to the UK strengthened Thursday. The Dutch BBL was sending 34 million cu m/d Thursday morning, while Belgium was nominated to send around 10 million cu m through the Interconnector to the UK.

Meanwhile, North Sea flows to the St Fergus Mobil beach terminal picked back up to 28 million cu m/d after falling to zero for much of Wednesday.

Higher supply flows allowed storage withdrawals to be cut. Rough storage withdrawals, seen across Wednesday, halted Thursday morning.

Gas Storage Europe still shows UK storage at 94% full with 4.3 billion cu m. The Qatari LNG tanker Al Utouriya berthed at Isle of Grain Wednesday, or is just about to unload. The Al Mafyar is expected at South Hook on Sunday, local port data showed.

Platts ship tracking software cFlow also showed the Al Kharsaah en route to the UK, expected December 5.

South Hook LNG was sending out gas at 35 million cu m/d Thursday.

Later dated contracts were also priced lower. The December contract fell from 59.15 p/th Wednesday to trade at 58.95 p/th Thursday. Summer 15 went from 54.50 p/th to 54.35 p/th.

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