Italian major Eni (NYSE:E) has signed an agreement with the Crown Estate for the use of the Deborah Gas Storage field as a storage facility, a project which will significantly boost the security of supply and market flexibility of the North West European gas market.
This is the first agreement concluded in over 25 years on the UK Continental Shelf by the Crown Estate for a depleted offshore field storage of such large scale.
In addition, Eni has been granted a gas storage license by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). This is the first grant of a storage licence in the North Sea under provisions of the Energy Act 2008 designed to encourage offshore development.
The agreements signed and the approvals obtained by the authorities, including one from North Norfolk District Council in late September for the planning application, underpin Eni’s Final Investment Decision, which is expected to be taken by the first quarter of 2011.
Located 25 miles offshore Bacton, England, Deborah is one of the fields in the Hewett gas complex and is ideal for gas storage. Moreover, it is conveniently connected to the Bacton terminal, near the main centres of UK demand, and with excellent links to the rest of the North West European gas market. Once it starts up, Deborah will provide a vital new seasonal storage service with a large degree of flexibility.
Deborah Gas Storage Project
Deborah, located 25 miles offshore Bacton, England, will have a working gas capacity of 4.6 Bcm, more than doubling the UK’s storage capacity and enhancing not only security of supply but also the scope and range of storage services available to the North West European market. It will be the largest storage facility in Europe.
Deborah is the first depleted North Sea gas field to be granted a storage licence under the Energy Act 2008 allowing it to convert to a storage facility. Start-up is planned from April, 2015. It is the second planned offshore facility to be granted such a licence.
On October 14, Eni launched a Capacity Allocation Process to attract bids from customers for long term capacity. Bids are invited until November 12 and the process is due to allocate capacity in early December.