Centrica evaluating UK storage needs

Centrica’s Rough gas storage facility in the UK North Sea underwent its stiffest test this winter.

Offshore staff

LONDON -- Centrica’s Rough gas storage facility in the UK North Sea underwent its stiffest test this winter.

Due to severe weather in the UK and a gas supply dispute between Russian and Ukraine, the platform and reservoir experienced their longest sustained period to date of maximum withdrawals, with 52 days at full rate.

From April, Centrica adds, continuous injection, combined with enhanced injection capability, led to the reservoir being 88% full by end-June. This represented a record gas stock level for the facility at that point in the year.

The company is considering schemes for three further UK storage facilities, two offshore. One is the Baird field in the southern gas basin, where Centrica acquired a 70% interest from operator Perenco in February.

Centrica estimates its share of the proposed Baird conversion project at £1.2 billion ($1.98 billion). The other offshore location under review is the Bains field in the Irish Sea off northwest England. These two facilities, along with a potential onshore scheme at Caythorpe, could add around 85 bcf to Centrica’s UK storage, roughly two-thirds of the capacity at Rough.

The company says it is moving forward on early engineering studies in each case, and expects to take final investment decisions in 2010.

Portland Gas Holdings is seeking financial support for another proposed scheme at Portland on the English south coast, designed to store 35 bcf of gas. The program includes construction of an offshore pipeline across Weymouth Bay.

07/30/2009

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