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The UK's largest gas storage facility, Rough, has released stored gas into the grid to help the UK both manage higher heating demand during the current cold weather and keep prices down. This is the first time Rough has released gas this winter.

This year, Centrica has filled Rough with the equivalent of 18 LNG tankers. Rough provides enough energy to heat over 3 million homes, every day, all winter, keeping families warm and bills down.

Rough is the UK’s largest gas storage facility. It stopped storing gas in 2017 but was re-opened for gas storage in October 2022, and its capacity was doubled in the summer of 2023. The facility, which is 18 miles off the coast of East Yorkshire, now provides half of the UK’s total gas storage.

Centrica’s long-term ambition is to turn the Rough gas field into the largest long duration low carbon energy storage facility in the world, capable of storing both natural gas and hydrogen.

Chris O’Shea, Group Chief Executive, Centrica, said, “Customers are struggling with high energy bills which are driven by international energy prices. Gas storage is vital to ensure the UK can manage demand effectively, keeping prices down, and Rough contributes more than 50% of the UK’s total gas storage. I’m proud of the actions our team has taken over the last 18 months, including our decision to bring Rough back online, to underpin the UK’s energy security. However, we still have the lowest levels of energy storage of the world’s major economies with the ability to store fewer than 8 days of peak winter demand and this leaves us susceptible to shocks in international markets.

“Gas will continue to be used as a transition fuel for the foreseeable future and we are prepared to invest around £2 billion to quadruple the size of Rough and turn it into the world’s biggest methane and hydrogen storage facility. This would improve materially the UK’s energy resilience and support the transition to net zero, but to invest this amount of money we need the right regulatory support framework.”

The UK has diverse gas supplies with connections with Norway and other European countries and 3 LNG import terminals. However, it still has some of the lowest levels of gas storage in Europe at 12 days average or 7.5 peak winter days, compared to Germany at 89 days, France at 103 days and the Netherlands at 123 days.

Notes to Editors:

  • Rough keeps prices down for consumers by balancing the UK’s gas market, injecting gas into the facility when there is excess supply and putting that gas back into the UK’s gas network when customers need it most, keeping prices lower at that point of peak demand.
  • At full capacity Rough can store around 13.5 days of average total UK gas use, including non-domestic users and gas fired power generation.