Floating gas terminals are to be anchored off Britain's coast under plans being worked on to boost energy security.

Government officials have told the Telegraph that they are working to support firms who want to install the vessels in the UK, as part of efforts to avoid a repeat of this winter's energy crisis.

It would bolster the country's capacity to import from around the world, potentially making it less exposed to gas market shocks as domestic supplies fall.

Officials said that a "small number" of commercial firms were developing plans to set up floating terminals to turn liquified natural gas (LNG), sent to the UK on ships, back into gaseous form to pipe into the gas network.

They said officials were "working with these parties to support these developments" which could "further increase the resilience of the UK's gas-importation capability".

They added: "Floating terminals can be quickly linked to the UK gas network without the need for extensive new infrastructure; and can be readily redeployed to other markets should the UK no longer require the additional capability in the future."

More LNG

Britain gets most of its gas from Norway and the UK North Sea. However, an increasing proportion comes as LNG in ships from the US, Peru and around the world, accounting for 35% of the market last year.

Demand for LNG in Europe and the UK climbed last year after Russia cut off gas supplies to Europe, helping push up gas prices to the record levels that triggered the cost-of-living crisis.

The UK has three permanent LNG terminals in Wales and Kent.

Experts said Britain's import capacity was less of a problem compared to securing the gas at a fair price in the first place.

Clive Moffatt, gas consultant at Moffatt Associates and former adviser to the Government on energy security, told the Telegraph: "We have adequate terminal capacity - the problem in the past has been getting what we need when we need it in winter."

Gas prices have eased in recent months thanks to warmer weather. However, prices could rebound later in the year, experts have warned.

Niall Trimble, managing director at the Energy Contract Company consultancy, said there is "huge uncertainty" over China's demand for gas shipment imports in 2023, warning this "may be higher than expected".

More like this…

View all