British utility company Centrica has confirmed its plans to close Rough, the UK’s largest gas storage site beneath the North Sea.
Centrica said that it was permanently closing the Rough gas site because it had become unsafe and uneconomic to reopen the faculty, which had previously been temporarily shut over safety fears.
The site, which is located off the Yorkshire coast, opened in 1985 and could hold up to 9 days of gas. Supply will no longer be a storage faculty and the remaining gas reserves have been sold over the next four to five years.
Rough provided ten percent of the peak demand of gas in winter and the closure has prompted warnings that the UK will face rising winter gas prices.
There are also concerns that Britain is becoming more reliant on imports of liquefied natural gas from Russia and Norway.
Experts have said there is no surprise that Centrica has decided to shut down the site because the liquefied natural imports from Qatar had significantly reduce the economic rationale for this kind of faculty.
The government have already started putting plans in place to help deter the UK off its reliance on natural gas for heating with two new projects.
£25m is being made available to fund research into whether existing gas pipes can be used for hydrogen, and what impact having a hydrogen boiler would have for consumers and a further £10m will be invested in “smart heating”
“The UK government is committed to leading the world in delivering clean energy technology and today’s investment shows that we are prepared to support innovation in this critical area.” said energy minister, Claire Perry.