Britain’s energy supplies are set to become more secure thanks to Centrica Energy and Barrow Borough Council, with strong support from Furness Enterprise. The Council yesterday (16th June 2009) approved a planning application from Centrica for the multi million pound development of an offshore gas storage facility in the depleted Bains Gas Field in the East Irish Sea off the coast of North West England.
The Bains Gas Field will, by 2012, be used to transfer gas from the national transmission grid back into subseabed rock strata during periods of low demand (i.e. summer), and then pumped back into the grid via a processing facility, located within the South Morecambe gas terminal at Rampside near Barrow during times of high demand requirement.
The project will boost the UK’s relatively low amount of gas storage capacity at a time when over the next 10 years dependence upon imported gas is likely to rise to 80%.
Stuart Klosinski of Furness Enterprise said today:-
“We support this energy investment because it offers:-
· Security of energy supplies and vastly increases the UK’s gas storage capacity.
· Will create over 130 construction jobs, then sustain over 180 existing jobs for 25 years or more. There could also be significant local supply chain benefit and potential for increasing servicing of offshore activity from Barrow.
Centrica’s decision to progress the gas storage project further reinforces the importance of the southern part of Cumbria as an energy hub for the UK. It is also the Gateway to Britain’s Energy Coast with three gas storage and import facilities now approved with an estimated value of over £500m.
Notes for Editors
1. Barrow has the largest and most complex gas processing facility in the UK with the capacity to harvest any natural gas yet undiscovered in and around the East Irish Sea as well as complete the depletion of existing gas fields.
2. Bains will be nearly one fifth the size of Rough, the UK's largest gas storage site with a storage capacity of up to 20 billion cubic feet (bcf). The Bains project proposes to convert the existing, partly depleted Bains field, 5 miles north east of Centrica's South Morecambe field, to a storage facility with a dedicated twenty mile pipeline to the Barrow onshore terminal. A new unmanned platform and additional gas processing facilities within the existing South Morecambe Terminal would be required. Reservoir characteristics of the existing Bains field indicate a storage facility could offer significant flexibility to inject and produce gas at short notice.
3. The UK has the lowest level of gas storage capacity of major EU economies, at around 5 per cent (16 days) of annual demand. This compares with 24 per cent (88 days) in France and 21 per cent (77 days) in Germany.
4. The UK Government is targeting 20 per cent storage, which would require an investment of £8-£11 billion. This cost will have to be met largely by energy companies.
5. Centrica Energy's gas terminals at Rampside are located some 3km south east of Barrow-in-Furness and are one of Europe’s largest gas processing facilities.
6. Two new gas compression facilities adjacent to the south terminal are proposed by Stag Energy and Centrica. Hoegh plan a gas metering facility servicing an LNG import facility.