Gaz de France plans gas storage caverns in UK

GDF has signed an agreement with Ineos Enterprises for the development of a proposed salt cavern storage facility for gas at Stublach in Cheshire in Northwest England.

Doris Leblond
OGJ Correspondent

PARIS, Aug. 28 -- Gaz de France has signed an agreement with Ineos Enterprises for the commercial development of a proposed salt cavern storage facility for natural gas at Stublach in Cheshire in Northwest England.

Total capacity could reach 400 million cu m of gas, said GDF, which will operate the infrastructure under a 30-year lease agreement.

The €500 million project will include as many as 28 caverns, making it one of the largest salt cavern projects in Europe. It will be developed in three stages between 2013, when the first caverns will be commissioned, and 2018.

Ineos, a subsidiary of the Ineos Chemical Group, will provide solution mining (leaching) services to create the caverns and will use the brine produced for industrial purposes, ensuring that the project is environmentally friendly, said GDF.

Stored gas in the UK currently accounts for 4%/year of consumption, compared with 24%/year in France and 19%/year in Germany. However, the UK is forecast to expand its gas market by 2%/year, as North Sea production declines and gas imports increase.

The new storage facility will give the UK the flexibility needed to manage supply security, and it will enable GDF to extend its international storage portfolio there, the company said.

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