* Troll, Kvitebjorn fields shut for maintenance
* Prices recover slightly from 3.5-year lows
LONDON, June 3 (Reuters) - British day-ahead gas prices gained 1.4 percent on Tuesday as imports from Europe dropped due to maintenance at two Norwegian gas fields.
The contract on gas for Wednesday delivery climbed 0.60 pence to 42.60 pence/therm in early trade, recovering slightly from a 3.5-year low of around 41.50 pence the previous day.
Analysts at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon said a full shutdown of Norway’s Troll and Kvitebjorn fields for maintenance, coupled with increased consumption at UK local distribution zones, lifted the front end of the forward curve.
“Langeled flows are down today and expected to drop further for day-ahead due to the scheduled maintenance at Troll,” they added, referring to the Langeled pipeline that transports gas to Britain from Norway.
British gas supply and demand for Tuesday were expected to be balanced, according to the National Grid, with both estimated at around 195 million cubic metres (mcm).
Britain’s National Transmission System delivers gas to 13 local distribution zones across the country, which transmit gas to end-users.
Wednesday’s consumption by the 13 zones is forecast at around 90 mcm, according to the analysts, some 12 mcm/day higher than on Tuesday.
Prompt UK gas prices hit their lowest since late 2010 on Monday after Russia and Ukraine reached a temporary gas supply deal and as healthy supply added bearish sentiment.
But slower wind speeds and below average temperatures expected across Britain on Wednesday also supported day-ahead prices. (Reporting by Michael Szabo; editing by Jane Baird)