Gas giant Centrica has announced a "ground breaking" deal worth around £2 billion to supply 2.4 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar.
Chief executive Sam Laidlaw, accompanying Prime Minister David Cameron on a trade delegation to the Middle East, said the deal was "particularly important" and he hoped would be the start of a longer term relationship between the two countries.
Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, said that under the three year contract, LNG will be delivered to the Isle of Grain in Kent, meeting around 10 per cent of the UK's residential gas demand, or 2.5 million households.
The firm said that with increasing global competition from emerging markets for LNG, and declining North Sea production, the agreement secured important gas supplies for the UK.
Laidlaw said the “UK is the largest gas consumer in Europe and one of the fastest growing markets for gas imports”.
“LNG provides the UK with a bridge to major global gas reserves. This deal is of particular importance and we hope that this will be the start of a longer term working relationship.
"The relationship between Qatar, the world's leading LNG exporter, and the UK connects supplier and consumer nations. Securing gas supplies benefits our customers, underpins our business and provides an important component of the UK's long term energy security," Laidlaw said.
Cameron welcomed the deal, and said the “important agreement is good for Britain, good for our energy security, good for jobs, and good for economic growth".
Qatargas chief executive Khalid Bin Khalifa Al Thani said the deal “represents the establishment of a new relationship with Centrica, and further underlines Qatargas' commitment to the UK as one of our key gas markets, especially as it comes after the State of Qatar's recent celebration of achieving a combined LNG production capacity of 77 million tonnes per annum”.
"This is an important milestone for Qatargas and we are delighted to be able to deliver LNG to additional UK customers."