Centrica is aiming to start filling up the Rough gas storage facility in “little more than a fortnight”.
Citing a Whitehall source, The Teleghraph reports that government officials and Centrica are aiming to complete talks in order to start utilising the facility at the start of September.
The company has been given the go-ahead from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for natural gas to be pumped into the Centrica Rough site.
The newspaper reports that the final hurdles are consents from the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), which aren’t seen as problematic, and an agreement between government and Centrica on state support for the facility.
Centrica shut down Rough in 2017 because it had become too expensive without that support – the site previously accounted for 70% of Britain’s natural gas storage capacity.
The UK Government has officially been saying that a gas shortage is unlikely, but experts have said reopening Rough could strengthen domestic supply.
It’s hoped that the site, 18 miles off the Yorkshire coast, will provide Britain with crucial supplies during tough winter months ahead.
The site can hold capacity for about 10 days when full.
Centrica said it will reopen rough in stages, following concerns previously about the facility having reached the end of its design life.
A spokesperson said: “The safe operation of Rough is always our main priority.
“We have operated this asset for decades and know it very well. Significant investment in the asset has continued following the decision to cease storage in 2017.
“The main reason we could return Rough is that we would increase its capacity in phases, ahead of each winter, so that we can carry out any required work to allow capacity to be increased safely.”
The approach has now been signed off by HSE, according to The Telegraph.
It added that the company is thought to be aiming for Rough to build up around 800 million cubic metres of gas for this winter and 1.7bn for the next.