A £350M gas storage scheme is being planned for under the sea off Barrow.
It is a joint venture by British companies Centrica and First Oil and French firm Gaz de France.
The move was unveiled today to salute the state visit to Britain by the French leader President Sarkozy and his wife Carla.
The plan involves installing an unmanned platform in the Irish Sea and connecting to the Rampside terminals with a new 20-mile undersea pipeline.
Gas going in and out of the storage site would go through Barrow.
It will also mean a new gas compression plant being built at Rampside.
The scheme will lengthen the life of the Rampside gas terminals complex and up to 200 core and contractor jobs.
If it goes ahead it could create hundreds of construction jobs but few permanent jobs.
Centrica said in a statement: “To celebrate the current “love in” with the French and the government’s announcement on UK/French nuclear cooperation, British Gas parent Centrica announces it is teaming up with Gaz de France and First Oil to look at building the UK’s first offshore gas storage facility for over 25 years.”
The gas would be stored in the summer in the nearly depleted Bains Field 20 miles from Barrow which is already owned by the three companies.
Stuart Klosinski, industrial development director for Furness Enterprise said: “It is good news for the area. This type of project will help sustain the 200 or so jobs already at Rampside well beyond 2020.
“It will create a significant number of construction jobs and hopefully there will be spin offs for local suppliers.”
It is the second gas storage scheme linked to Barrow announced for the Irish Sea. Another company Stag Energy is already working on plans to store gas in salt caverns in the Irish Sea.
The new Centrica gas storage field would be operating by 2011 and be able to store up to 20 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas.”
Centrica spokesman Andrew Hanson, said: "This could be good news for Barrow, helping to sustain the expert skills we have across our Morecambe Bay operation, as well as offering development jobs in the construction phase if the project moves ahead."