Centrica To Develop Bains Gas Field in the North Sea

Centrica PLC has received approval from the U.K. Department of Trade & Industry to develop the Bains natural gas field in the eastern part of the Irish Sea. The field, near the company's South Morecambe field, has reserves of 46 million cubic feet of gas and is expected to begin production by November of this year.

Centrica, which already had a 17.3% interest in Bains, acquired 4.3% from Burlington Resources Inc. and 31.2% from Kerr-McGee Corp. last November to bring its total interest to 52.8%. Other partners in the field are CalEnergy with 34%, and Edinburgh Oil & Gas (EOG) with 13.2%.

"The acquisition of further interest in the Bains field is in line with our strategy of securing upstream assets that provide a good fit with our existing assets and gas supply portfolio," said Jake Ulrich, managing director of Centrica Energy Management Group. "Being located close to our South Morecambe field, this fast-track project will achieve early gas production by tying in to the existing infrastructure." This is the first time that Centrica has taken on the role of operator of a U.K. field since the British Gas de-merger in 1997.