Gas field offers bay jobs boost

The Central Morecambe gas platform.

The Central Morecambe gas platform.

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Nearly 120 jobs have been secured in Heysham after gas production began from a new gas field in Morecambe Bay.

The Rhyl field, located 39km off the coast of Barrow, was first discovered in 2009 and is operated by Centrica Energy.

Gas from Rhyl will be produced through Centrica’s existing north Morecambe platform, then come onshore to its Barrow terminal by pipeline for processing.

The field has secured 117 jobs at the company’s support base on North Quay, Heysham by extending the future of gas production in Morecambe Bay into the 2020s.

Mike Astell, Centrica’s regional director for the East Irish Sea said: “This is incredibly exciting news for everyone involved because it marks another lease of life for the Morecambe Bay area, securing energy for the UK and jobs for the local area.”

“Importantly for the North West, it represents Centrica Energy’s continued investment in people, skills and technology in the local area, where it already runs a successful apprenticeship programme to helping individuals advance their skills and careers.”

The Morecambe Bay gas fields, including south and north Morecambe, were first discovered in the 1970s and production began in 1985.

The South Morecambe gas field is one of the UK’s largest fields, and at peak Centrica Energy’s East Irish Sea operations are able to supply around eight per cent of the UK’s residential gas demand.

Centrica Energy’s facilities in the North West include the South and North Morecambe and Rhyl gas fields, the Barrow Gas Terminals, the Rampside Terminal, the Heysham Support Base and the Barrow Offshore wind farm.

Appraisal drilling at Rhyl North towards the end of 2012 was successful, and led to reserves being revised upwards from around 40 billion cubic feet to around 80 billion cubic feet.