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UPDATE 1-Constellation's Everett takes LNG delivery from Trinidad

(Adds comments of Constellation)

Jan 8 (Reuters) - U.S. energy group Constellation Energy's Everett liquefied natural gas (LNG) import plant in Massachusetts took delivery of LNG from Trinidad over the weekend, LSEG data showed.

The BW Boston tanker delivered about 2.7 billion cubic feet (bcf) of natural gas as LNG, its second cargo to Everett this winter after another from Trinidad in December.

U.S. gas imports as LNG have dropped in recent years as domestic production from shale fields rose and global prices soared after Russia invaded Ukraine and cut exports to Europe.

Energy traders said it is hard for U.S. LNG importers to compete with European utilities willing to pay around $10 per million British thermal units for gas when the fuel trades at around just $3 in the U.S..

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In 2023, Everett imported about 15.4 bcf of gas, according to LSEG data, down from a five-year (2018-2022) average of 31.5 bcf, according to federal energy data.

One billion cubic feet of gas can fuel about 5 million U.S. homes for a day.

With limited amounts of gas able to flow on pipelines, New England depends on LNG and oil to fuel some power plants on the coldest days when most of the region's pipeline gas is used to heat homes and businesses. About half of the power generated in New England comes from gas-fired plants.

But Everett LNG could shut this year with Constellation expected to retire its Mystic gas-fired power plant in May. Mystic is also located at Everett.

Everett LNG supplies gas to the Mystic plant and other gas companies in New England.

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corp said in November that the Everett shutdown could jeopardize the reliability of New England's power grid.

Constellation said it has been negotiating supply contracts that would support the continued operation of Everett LNG after Mystic retires on May 31, 2024 - but has noted that "time is of the essence" to conclude those deals. (Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Alexander Smith and Jonathan Oatis)