The Baird Gas Storage Project, a joint venture between Centrica Storage and Perenco UK, has been granted onshore planning permission by North Norfolk District Council.
The Bacton-based project, which will help secure future energy supplies by storing gas 86km off the North Norfolk coast, has been given planning consent for the onshore gas reception terminal and pipeline landfall elements of the Project.
At 81 billion cubic feet (bcf), Baird would be the second largest gas storage facility in the UK after Rough - another of CSL's storage facilities.
CSL and Perenco UK have formed a joint company, Bacton Storage Company Limited (BSCL), to convert the Baird field for natural gas storage. CSL is the largest gas storage operator in the UK and the lead partner in the joint venture, whilst Perenco UK is the current operator of an existing onshore processing facility in Bacton. Should the Baird Gas Storage Project go ahead, a new onshore gas reception terminal and pipeline will be built and operated within the current Perenco UK site.
During periods of low demand, gas will be stored off the North Norfolk coast. During periods of peak demand, the gas will be extracted and sent back to the Bacton gas terminal complex through a pipeline. Once onshore, the gas will be compressed and processed enabling it to be safely delivered to homes and businesses across the UK via the National Grid.
Currently front end engineering design work is in progress, and an application has been submitted to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change for permission to develop the offshore element of the project.
Simon Wills, Managing Director of CSL, said, "This is another important milestone for CSL and the wider Centrica group. Baird is an exciting project that could provide a major contribution to UK security of supply.
"As the UK becomes increasingly reliant on imported gas supplies, more storage facilities will be required. Baird could play an important role in this, but we need to ensure that projects are economically viable in the long term. This planning approval is another successful step on the road to a final investment decision in 2011."
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