The Saltfleetby onshore gas site, has increased British storage capacity by 15% in one go, and was approved following a public inquiry.

The Lincolnshire site, which was first bored for gas in 1999, has been running out for some time and plans to transform into a storage site went into the conceptual design stage back in 2006.

At the time WINGAS GmbH, a joint venture of Wintershall (65%) and the Russian company OAO Gazprom (35%), believed it could have the plant built between 2009 and 2010 and operational by 2011.

However, the public inquiry delayed the timescale meaning construction and drilling operations will take between 30 and 36 months, which means the site could be operational by 2013.

The change of use means the construction of a new plant near the current well sites, the drilling of new wells and the laying of new pipelines to supplement ones that already feed the gas produced at Saltfleetby into Britain’s gas supply.

Energy minister, Charles Hendry, said: “This new project will provide the UK with new and much-needed gas storage.

“As the UK becomes increasingly dependent on imported gas, this Government has made it a priority to ensure secure gas supplies.

“We will introduce measures in the Energy Security and Green Economy Bill to encourage not only more gas storage, but greater gas import capacity to help ensure that our market will deliver gas when it is needed.”

Luke Walsh

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