The Government has paved the way for the construction of a £600 million gas storage facility off the Furness coast.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change today issued the first licence to the project under a new regime to encourage the construction of more gas storage.
The Gateway Project will see twenty new salt caverns, each the size of the Albert Hall, built under the east Irish Sea.
Gateway Storage Company chairman George Grant said: “We are now fully engaged with the project’s engineering design and are targeting 2014 for the start of commercial storage operations.”
The caverns will be built about 750m beneath the surface of the seabed and located 15 miles offshore, south west of Barrow-in-Furness. It has been proposed the facilities will be connected to the National Gas Transmission System via a new pipeline to a gas compression station adjacent to the existing Morecambe gas terminals at Barrow.
The Crown Estate, which had already agreed and issued the lease for the Gateway project, welcomed the decision.