UK's energy network operator National Grid has declared force majeure on contracts it has with gas companies to use a new gas pipeline from two new import terminals in Wales, the company said on Tuesday.
The company said in a statement that planning problems on part of the project to link new liquefied natural gas terminals at Milford Haven to the rest of the grid could reduce the amount of transport capacity available to shippers when the terminals open next winter.
The pipelines could transport a fifth of the UK's gas but the planning delay may prevent shippers from getting all the gas they want to market from the South Hook and Dragon LNG terminals.
The grid operator said although it was still assessing the full impact of the planning delay on available capacity. Early indications are that daily flow capacity could be reduced by about 40 gigawatt hours a day.
The possible reduction comes after a March 30 court freeze on work on a pressure reduction station at Cilfrew, near Swansea, pending a local council planning consent review.
Neath Port Talbot Council says it is unlikely to vote on the planning permission again until at least May 15, National Grid said, adding that full capacity would only be available once the Cilfrew station is completed.
The whole infrastructure project is 95 percent complete, despite the planning problem and environmental protests at other parts of the pipeline.
National Grid said it would get on with other work while the pressure station issue is held up.