Centrica subsidiary Hydrocarbon Resources (HRL) has taken its South Morecambe field out of production for a period of extended maintenance.

<p>Following the publication of an interim report by Centrica Storage on April 24, 2006, regarding the incident involving a cooler unit at the Rough platform in February, HRL has decided to bring forward and extend its normal summer maintenance period at South Morecambe. <br /><br />The South Morecambe field uses coolers of a similar design to Rough and following an initial inspection HRL intends to carry out remedial works on those units in order to remove any element of risk, the firm said in a statement. This will enhance the integrity of the asset before the key winter demand period. It is expected that operations will recommence at the beginning of September 2006 when the field will return to full production capacity.<br /><br />At an earnings level the financial impact on Centrica of the outage is expected to be immaterial after rescheduling production profiles for the balance of the year due to the combination of the upstream marginal tax rate and seasonally low wholesale gas prices. Centrica has secured from the market the gas required to meet British Gas customer demand during this period.<br /><br />The North Morecambe field is currently undergoing its regular annual maintenance which takes place in May and is expected to return to normal operations by the end of May.</p>