Centrica is in talks with the UK government about plans to convert its disused Rough natural gas storage site off the coast of northeast England to store hydrogen.
The conversion requires about 650 million pounds ($908 million) of investment and would create several thousand jobs during construction, Chris O’Shea chief executive officer said in an interview.
Rough closed in 2017 after operating for over three decades. It had been plagued by technical problems and became too expensive to repair without government funding. Now O’Shea sees the possibility of a second life for the facility but it would still need help from state coffers.
“We’ve been working with government and others to see if we could convert Rough to store hydrogen for the U.K.,” O’Shea said. “We need a regulated model probably for that. It probably doesn’t work with a merchant model.”
Energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng visited the Rough gas field in August last year, O’Shea said.
The government “looking at how hydrogen technology can help us meet targets to eradicate our contribution to climate change by 2050,” the department for business energy and industrial strategy said in by email.
The site could be linked with the planned zero carbon industrial cluster in the northeast of England. The project is a hub of energy producers, industry, infrastructure and engineering expertise powered by electricity that will develop and use carbon capture and storage technology and hydrogen. Centrica is a partner in the initiative along with Equinor AS, Drax Plc and Uniper SE.
The Humber cluster will need a ready supply of hydrogen and if it’s only produced in one place, there could be security of supply issues, O’Shea said.
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