Gas storage licence for North Sea
The government has issued a Gas Storage Licence for a major new gas storage facility in the North Sea at the Deborah field, a depleted off-shore field near the Bacton Terminal.
The licence has been granted to Italian energy company, ENI, who will now test the market to establish whether there is commercial demand for the facility to be used for gas storage.
The proposed facility would have a working capacity of 4.6 billion cubic metres, which would more than double the UK's current gas storage capacity.
The government's energy minister, Charles Hendry, said: "This is potential a vast and crucial development. Gas storage is a vital means of providing flexibility in the gas market at times of high demand and helps ensure secure energy supplies."
The licence does not grant prior approval for building work but gives ENI the opportunity to present plans for scrutiny against financial, environmental and technical criteria. If the project goes ahead, it will be the largest gas storage facility in the UK. Alison Brown