Centrica Energy is investing £84m in a major construction project at the Barrow Gas Terminals in Cumbria, which will create 300 jobs.
Preliminary work has already started on a new pipeline project at the terminals, which will see a 1.1km 36inch underground pipe run from the south to north terminals.
Terminals manager Darrell Hampshire described the investment as “indicative of Centrica Energy’s commitment to Barrow. We started the work four weeks ago and we expect it to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2015. During construction we will have 300 people working on the project, made up of 200 onsite and 100 offsite supporting the engineering, fabrication and construction work.”
The new pipeline is needed because of European Union legislation, which will prohibit the sale of a refrigerant called freon from the end of 2014. Freon is used to cool the gas piped to the south terminal as part of the process to clean it before it can be pumped into the National Grid.
Barrow’s gas terminals are responsible for around eight per cent of the UK’s gas supply, down from a peak of 25 per cent after the site first opened in the early 1980s. With the impending ban on the sale of freon, Centrica Energy has decided to look for alternative technologies.
The solution is a ‘drying bead’ which acts in the same way as the silica gel found in new bags or shoes used to absorb moisture. This alternative technology is already used at Centrica Energy’s north terminal in Barrow, and the new pipeline will transfer the south terminal gas 1.1km underground to the neighbouring terminal.
Around 300 workers are expected to be involved on the project, with a number of local positions being created by main contractor Costain and secondary contractor Land and Marine.
There are no plans as yet to alter operations at the south terminal, with Centrica Energy awaiting analysis of geological surveys to ascertain if there are any additional deposits of natural gas in the Irish Sea which could be extracted.
Around 200 people work at the terminals in Barrow, with a further 200 based at Centrica Energy’s base in Heysham, near Morecambe.
Centrica Energy Exploration & Production
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