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    UK Centrica Eyes Rough Storage Conversion


It is among Europe's biggest gas storage facilities

by: William Powell

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UK Centrica Eyes Rough Storage Conversion

UK gas and power retailer Centrica is mulling converting the giant former offshore gas storage facility, the depleted Rough gas field, into a hydrogen storage facility, it said January 22.

It was announcing its membership this month of the Hydrogen Taskforce, an industry body that advises government. Centrica said repurposing the field would also help generate employment in the northeast of England.

The HT said that the government plans to incentivise the development of 5 GW of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 and to provide £240 ($328)mn to support new hydrogen production facilities, as part of its plan for a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’. The plan also promised more for carbon capture and storage.

Centrica is Great Britain's largest gas and power supplier to households and it said it would play "a significant role in meeting the UK’s ambitions, creating green jobs and ensuring that the UK reaches its net-zero ambitions by 2050. 

The HT has been providing evidence to the government on how hydrogen can support the UK’s economic recovery, post-Covid-19. It forecasts that hydrogen could be worth up to £18bn/yr to the UK and create 75,000 jobs across the UK economy by 2035. 

Rough had been operational for decades and played a vital role in winter gas supply, with its working gas capacity of 3,3bn m³ and another 4bn m³ of 'cushion' gas. But it is being wound down and treated as a producing field once more. Centrica decided some years ago that making it fit for purpose again would have been too costly at a time when summer-winter prices differences were so small.

It had been operated by Centrica Storage, a company ringfenced from the gas supply and trading arm, as gas storage capacity was available to all shippers to bid for on a non-discriminatory basis.