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Government issues lease for biggest UK gas storage facility

The Department for Energy and Climate Change has issued a licence for the construction of a vast undersea gas storage facility in the North Sea, which could double the UK’s capacity by 2015.

Bosses at Italian energy firm, ENI, said they hoped final funding for the 4.6 billion cm Deborah field project would be in place as early as the first quarter of 2011.

ENI Chief Operating Officer, Domenico Dispenza said: “The Deborah gas storage facility will have a working capacity of 4.6 bcm, more than doubling the UK’s gas storage capacity, and enhancing security of supply for the UK and for North West Europe. ENI is pleased that the major regulatory requirements - the agreement for a lease from The Crown Estate and the Gas Storage Licence from DECC - are now in place.”

Energy Minister Charles Hendry said projects like Deborah would be crucial in securing long-term UK energy security. “The Government has made it a priority to ensure we have secure energy supplies, now and in the future, as we do not consider our current gas storage capacity is adequate in a world where we would be increasingly reliant on imported gas. Our plans to legislate on gas security in the forthcoming Energy Security & Green Economy Bill will help underpin commercial demand for gas supply infrastructure - like gas storage and import facilities. The Government welcomes developments which show that investors are willing to respond to this urgent challenge.”