WINGAS Storage UK has received consent from the British Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to develop its depleted gas field at Saltfleetby, Lincolnshire into an underground storage facility for natural gas.
The UK’s need for a greater volume of gas storage, driven by the decline in production form the UK Continental Shelf, has been apparent for some time. The UK has storage capacity of only 4% of its annual consumption, significantly below the average for the larger gas consuming countries of Europe. This creates risks to the continuity of supplies.
Underground gas storage is largely carried out in either a depleted reservoir or in caverns specially created in salt strata. Saltfleetby is a depleted reservoir. The gas-holding strata are some 2.3 km below ground level. It was formerly the largest onshore gas field in the UK.
When filled, it will hold 755 million cubic metres of gas which will normally be released in the winter period over a period of about 100 days. Re-filling will be carried out in the summer. Saltfleetby is in Lincolnshire, 9 kilometres east of Louth and a similar distance from the National Transmission System entry point at Theddlethorpe to which it will be connected by pipeline.
WINGAS Storage UK will now proceed with the process to take the final investment decision. Storage operations are planned to start in 2013. WINGAS Storage UK is a joint venture between Wintershall, Germany’s largest crude oil and natural gas producer, and Russia’s OAO Gazprom.