Centrica plc, the parent company of British Gas, today announced that it is proposing to create the UK's first offshore gas storage facility for over 25 years. The proposal, with partners Gaz de France and First Oil plc, will focus on a development study to convert the Bains gas field, in the East Irish Sea, into a dedicated seasonal storage facility nearly one fifth the size of Rough, the UK's largest gas storage site.
Pre-development studies will run until early 2009, before a final investment decision is made to develop the project. If progressed, the facility could be available to come online for gas production and injection in the winter of 2011/12, with a storage capacity of up to 20 billion cubic feet (bcf).
The Bains project proposes to convert the existing partly depleted Bains field, eight 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 compression facilities 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.
Centrica, which operates the Bains field alongside its Morecambe fields, will project manage the development on behalf of the partners - Centrica (52.8%), Gaz de France (34%), First Oil (13.2%).
Sam Laidlaw, Chief Executive of Centrica, said: "We believe Bains has real potential as a new gas storage facility, being close to existing infrastructure and having the right reservoir characteristics.
"As the UK becomes increasingly reliant on imported gas and flexibility from North Sea fields declines in the coming years, investing in much needed storage facilities, which will boost this country's security of supply, forms part of Centrica's long term programme of investing in a range of gas, power and renewable projects to supply our British Gas customers."