A new project to boost gas production from Morecambe Bay is set to take Centrica Energy’s current investment in the region past the £100 million mark and unlock new gas reserves.
Work to tap into new reserves in the North Morecambe field will start this month, unlocking up to an additional 8.8 billion cubic feet of gas – enough to heat nearly 200,000 UK homes for a year.
The £16 million project, which will create 80 jobs for the duration of the campaign, involves installing new equipment on the North Morecambe platform, which will use the high pressure of the nearby Rhyl field to boost the pressure and production from the wells in the North Morecambe field.
Andy Bevington, Director of UK Operated Assets for Centrica Energy, said: “We have been producing gas from Morecambe Bay for three decades, and we want to continue our operations in the region into the 2020s and beyond.
“Fresh investment in innovative technology like the North Morecambe Project will breathe new life into one of the most important hubs in our business.”
The project will create 80 jobs for the duration of the campaign, with a 150-strong team working on the development in total. More than 60 people will be based onshore, with a further 90 people working offshore on the installation at any one time.
The North Morecambe platform is normally unmanned, however the teams will be working from a jack-up barge, the Seajacks Kraken that will be arriving in Morecambe Bay later this month. The use of the self-propelled barge means the project teams can “walk to work” across a gangway connecting the barge to the platform, rather than relying on daily helicopter flights offshore.
The investment comes as Centrica Energy celebrates the 30th anniversary of gas production from the region and work on the £84 million Barrow Terminals Project nears completion.
The Barrow Terminals Project, which began last year, involves laying a new underground pipeline from the South to the North gas terminal, as well as carrying out essential works on the gas processing facilities.
In partnership with the two main contractors, Costain and Land & Marine, the project has created 100 new jobs, from engineers and health and safety advisors to administrative support teams, and is expected to be completed this winter.