Gas production has begun from the Rhyl gas field in Morecambe Bay, helping to secure the future of 400 North West jobs and boost energy security for the UK.
The Rhyl field, located 39km off the coast of Barrow, was first discovered in 2009 and is wholly owned and operated by Centrica Energy. Gas from Rhyl will be produced through Centrica Energy’s existing North Morecambe platform, then come onshore to its Barrow terminal complex by pipeline for processing.
This is the first new field to be brought on stream in the region for ten years and represents an important milestone in extending the life of Centrica’s Morecambe Bay operations, taking production well beyond 2020. Earlier this year additional appraisal drilling on the Rhyl reservoir confirmed that it extended further than originally anticipated.
Mike Astell, Centrica Energy’s Regional Director for the East Irish Sea said: “This is incredibly exciting news for everyone involved because it marks another lease of life for the Morecambe Bay area, securing energy for the UK and jobs for the local area.”
The Morecambe Bay gas fields were first discovered in the 1970s and production began in 1985. The South Morecambe gas field is one of the UK’s largest fields, and at peak Centrica Energy’s East Irish Sea operations are able to supply around 8% of the UK’s residential gas demand. Centrica Energy’s facilities in the North West include the South and North Morecambe and Rhyl gas fields, the Barrow Gas Terminals, the Rampside Terminal, the Heysham Support Base and the Barrow Offshore wind farm.
Appraisal drilling at Rhyl North towards the end of 2012 was successful, and led to 2P reserves being revised upwards from around 40 billion cubic feet to around 80 billion cubic feet. In early 2013, further appraisal drilling at Whitehaven confirmed that the Rhyl reservoir extends further than originally anticipated, potentially leading to additional reserve bookings.