Centrica has signed a £7 billion agreement with US-based Delfin Midstream to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) from 2026, Britain's largest energy supplier said today.

Countries across Europe are seeking to diversify their energy supplies following Russia's invasion of Ukraine and a drop in gas flows from Russia to Europe.

Centrica, which owns Bord Gáis Energy and British Gas, said the 15-year deal would be worth around £7 billion and involve buying 1 million tonnes of LNG a year on a free on board (FOB) from the Delfin Deepwater Port off the coast of Louisiana from 2026.

"Natural gas has now been recognised as an essential transition fuel on the path to net zero just at the point geopolitical uncertainty is impacting the global gas market," said Centrica CEO Chris O'Shea in a statement.

Britain is home to three of the largest LNG terminals in Europe - two terminals at Milford Haven and another at the Isle of Grain - where the super chilled fuel is converted back into gas.

"Today's deal between Centrica and Delfin is positive news for the UK, helping to ensure our diversity of supply from reliable sources," Kwasi Kwarteng, Britain's Business and Energy Minister said in Centrica's statement.

The US became the world's top exporter of LNG in the first half of 2022 and is on course to exceed a pledge to provide Europe with more supplies of gas and help to break its dependence on Russian fuels.

Delfin said in the statement the deal was another milestone towards taking a final investment decision by the end of the year on the United States' first floating LNG export terminal.

Centrica also signed an agreement with Norway's Equinor in June for an additional 1 bcm of gas supplies, enough to heat 4.5 million homes over the next three winters.