The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has granted approval and consent to allow Centrica Offshore UK (COUK) to reopen its Rough gas storage site situated off the East Yorkshire coast.
The gas storage site, which initially closed in 2017, is expected to reopen in order to provide the UK with much needed energy throughout the winter months – something that has become a pressing concern amid the rising energy price cap.
The Rough site has a storage capacity of roughly 70% of the UK’s gas storage capacity and can supply gas for the UK population.
According to Statista, natural gas consumption in the UK reached nearly 77 billion cubic meters in 2021, up from some 73 billion cubic meters in the prior year. In 2020, the government claimed that 11% of electricity production was from gas.
The NSTA’s hand has been forced amid high global wholesale gas price crisis and the UK’s need to provide heat and energy for the population to avoid a catastrophic winter.
Concerns over winter supply and its impact on prices have continued in recent weeks, as wholesale prices have continued to rise. Flows on Nord Stream 1 – the pipeline that carries Russian gas to Europe – dropped to 20% of capacity last week, due to the need for urgent maintenance works according to Russia. It has now been completely shut down.
Such actions and their impact on wholesale prices have led to further increases in the predictions for energy bills for consumers over the coming winter.
Reuters stated earlier this month that European countries are on track to reach a gas storage filling target by the start of this winter, but the cost of replenishing stocks will be 10 times more than the historical average of filling up tanks for winter.