With volatile gas prices dogging the UK electricity market and wider security of supply issues heightened by recent events on the Russian border, activity in the UK’s gas storage sector appears to be picking up pace.

ScottishPower recently bought the 4.1 billion cubic feet Hatfield Moor gas storage facility from Edinburgh Oil & Gas for £11.5 million ($23 million) in order to increase and enhance its gas storage capabilities.

The facility, located in South Yorkshire, is one of the few consented and operating onshore gas stores in the UK and is used solely by ScottishPower to store gas purchased in summer and autumn for release during winter peak demand.

John Campbell, ScottishPower’s energy Wholesale Director, said: “Purchase of the store enables ScottishPower to take full ownership and control of Hatfield Moor gas storage facility and invest in improving its operational capabilities, such as flow rates and increasing the working capacity.”

Meanwhile, E.ON UK, the company that runs Powergen, has submitted a planning application to build underground gas storage facility north of Aldbrough, in East Yorkshire.

The proposed facility is expected to have total working gas capacity of 420 million cubic metres of gas. It is hoped that a decision on the proposals will be reached by mid 2007 with construction is expected to start late in 2007 and the first phase operational in 2010. All work is planned to be completed by 2013.

Chief executive Dr Paul Golby said: “There is an urgent need for more gas storage in the UK as production from the North Sea declines.”

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