Wholesale gas prices have been volatile following news that the UK’s largest gas storage facility is being shut down for 42 days. Gas prices for the coming winter surged more than 8% last Wednesday after Centrica Storage said its Rough facility would close until 3 August.
The plant accounts for 72% of the country’s gas storage capacity, but has been affected by safety issues. The move could push the UK’s gas stocks to record lows this winter.
Gas market specialist Niall Trimble of the Energy Contract Company said the Rough facility was a key part of the UK’s gas storage network. “After all these years, it’s still the majority of our storage,” he said.
The field, which lies around 20 miles off the East Yorkshire coast has been providing gas supplies for the UK since 1975. It was converted into a major gas storage facility a decade later. Last year, a limit was imposed on the maximum operating pressure of the facility, reducing the volume of gas stored there by about a third.