Centrica Energy, a UK-based integrated energy company, is today celebrating 30 years of gas production from the Morecambe Bay, off England.
The Morecambe Bay gas fields, located off the coast of Lancashire and Cumbria, are among the biggest in UK waters – approximately the same size as the city of Birmingham.
According to Centrica, gas formed in rocks lying deep beneath the Irish Sea was extracted, processed and piped into the National Grid for the first time on January 9, 1985 and today it continues to heat around 1.5 million homes.
“It’s with great pride that we celebrate 30 years of gas from Morecambe Bay.”
At peak, the region produced enough gas to meet 20 per cent of the UK’s domestic demand and thanks to continuous investment in technology, skills and infrastructure, production has exceeded its original lifespan and is expected to continue into the 2020s, Centrica said in the release.
In 2013, the first new gas field in 10 years, known as Rhyl, came on stream and work is currently underway on a multimillion-pound project to upgrade the Barrow Gas Terminals to ensure continued safe and efficient operations.
Colette Cohen, Senior Vice President of Centrica Energy for the UK and Netherlands, said, “It’s with great pride that we celebrate 30 years of gas from Morecambe Bay.
“The gas fields and the Barrow Gas Terminals are a cornerstone asset of Centrica Energy and played their part in shaping the UK’s energy industry.
“2015 offers an extraordinary opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come in the three decades, from the development and application of new technologies to maximise the fields recovery, to growing skills and expertise which have enabled us to extend the life of the gas field to the present day, and for years to come.”
— Centrica Energy (@Centrica_Energy) January 9, 2015
Chief Petrophysicist John Bains first discovered the gas reserves in Morecambe Bay in 1972, however, according to Centrica, his discoveries were initially dismissed by the company that owned the drilling rights and which had been focusing on finding oil rather than gas.
Bains’ determination paid off in 1974, when British Gas, after acquiring the rights, drilled an exploration well and confirmed that a 600-foot column of gas lay deep beneath Morecambe Bay. Eleven years later, gas production started.
“John’s determination and expertise uncovered one of the UK’s most important gas fields, which has kept millions of homes warm ever since.”
Bains, who passed away in 2013 aged 86, was officially recognised for his contribution to UK gas exploration when a gas field was named after him.
The Bains field was acquired by Centrica Energy in 2001 and the decision to name it after the petrophysicist was made a year later.
Mark Hanafin, Centrica Energy’s Managing Director, said: “John’s determination and expertise uncovered one of the UK’s most important gas fields, which has kept millions of homes warm ever since.
“John was hugely respected in his field by his fellow geologists, and revered at Centrica Energy as the grandfather of the Morecambe Bay development.”
Offshore Energy Today Staff