UK’s gas storage site to struggle to aid winter energy crisis

Martin Lewis discusses 'hike' in UK energy prices

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The Rough site is not yet operational, and it has been suggested by those in the industry that the site will struggle to reach capacity by Christmas, therefore failing to make a dent in helping Brits through the winter. Energy company, Centrica was given governmental permission to reopen the gas reservoir off the Yorkshire coast as an emergency effort to keep power stations functioning when energy usage hits its peak during cold weather.

In its hey-day, the storage facility was responsible for 70 percent of total capacity and was able to hold 3.3 billion cubic metres of gas.

This was enough to supply the country in gas for approximately nine days and now with further demand caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Centrica is allowed to store up to 0.8bcm this winter.

This precaution is hoped to be enough gas to supply up to 12 percent of the UK peak demand.

However, figures from the industry have been examined by the i, which suggest that the current storage capabilities of the Rough site stand at 0.12bcm and is unlikely to hit over 0.5 to 0.6bcm by Christmas.

It is then thought that skyrocketing gas prices will ensure that further additions into the facility will be rendered uneconomic.

Watt-Logic energy consultant, Kathryn Porter told i: “We’re in heating season so prices are starting to rise for the winter.

“In the next month gas will start to get expensive.

“I doubt there will be many injections after December because there would be a risk of selling the gas for less than it was bought for.”

Ms Porter added: “I would say that technical constraints mean Rough will provide minimal benefit this winter unless those constraints are resolved.”

Centrica will continue to hold discussions with the Government over the financial strategy of operating the ageing gas site.

Warnings from National Grid have already warned that British businesses and households may suffer up to three-hour blackouts during the winter months is gas supplies run low.

Now, following dim industry figures, it is thought that Rough may only be able to provide just over one percent of the UK’s peak demand this winter.

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The closure of the site has been highly criticised as it leaves the UK at risk of changing gas prices and supply.

It is thought that the site will be of vital importance next winter as European countries struggle following the likelihood of being cut off from supplies from Russia.

If the site is returned back to its previous capabilities of 5.5bcm, the UK will still be straggling behind other European countries like Germany (26.5bcm) and the Netherlands (16.2) who have large reserves to see them through the winter season.

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