Qatar Petroleum (QP) has secured roughly 40% of the capacity available at Europe’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in the UK, solidifying the state-owned company’s role as the region’s dominant supplier.

QP said an affiliate signed a 25-year agreement for 7.2 million tons (Mt) of storage and regasification capacity annually at National Grid plc’s Grain LNG import terminal on the UK’s southeast coast in Kent. The deal begins in 2025 and would allow National Grid to expand the facility.

“By entering into this agreement, we are reaffirming our commitment to the UK’s gas market,” said QP CEO Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi. “We believe this agreement will facilitate a greater role for LNG as a reliable, economic and environmentally friendly source of energy in the UK.”

Qatar is the world’s largest LNG exporter and the UK’s biggest supplier. QP’s commitment allowed National Grid to conclude an open season it launched late last year to expand tank storage, regasification and send-out capacity from the facility, which began operating in 2005 and currently has the ability to meet 25% of the UK’s gas demand. 

The agreement would allow Grain to expand throughput capacity from 20 billion cubic meters (Bcm) to 25 Bcm, increasing the amount of LNG that makes its way into the UK, which has seen a rise of the super-chilled fuel in recent years, along with the rest of Europe, that has pushed wholesale gas prices down.

“This agreement ensures that Grain LNG will continue to offer the UK a flexible and reliable supply of gas to complement the growth of intermittent renewable generation,” said Jon Butterworth, managing director of National Grid Ventures. “It also secures the future of a facility that is a significant contributor to the economy on the Isle of Grain.”The deal also marks another step in Qatar’s plans to boost LNG output by 64% from current levels to 126 Mt annually. QP got started on that plan earlier this year when it started drilling wells as part of its North Field expansion. The company also announced in June that it had reserved 60% of global LNG shipbuilding capacity through 2027 to expand what’s already the world’s largest LNG tanker fleet.