The Anonymous Widower

Centrica Re-Opens Rough Storage Facility

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Centrica.

It has this sub-heading.

Rough Operational For Winter And Increases UK’s Storage Capacity By 50%.

On the face of it, this sounds like good news and these two paragraphs give more details.

Centrica has announced the reopening of the Rough gas storage facility, having completed significant engineering upgrades over the summer and commissioning over early autumn.

The initial investment programme means the company has made its first injection of gas into the site in over 5 years and is in a position to store up to 30 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas for UK homes and businesses over winter 2022/23, boosting the UK’s energy resilience.


  1. The Rough gas storage facility has been able to hold up to 100 billion cubic feet of gas in the past.
  2. Rough is a complex field with two platforms and thirty wells transferring gas to and from the facility.
  3. Additionally, there is an onshore gas-processing terminal at the Easington Gas Terminal, where it connects to the UK gas network.

It appears to be a comprehensive gas storage facility, that should get us through the 2022/3 winter.

These two paragraphs from the press release, which are the thoughts of the Centrica Chief Executive are significant.

Centrica Group Chief Executive, Chris O’Shea, said “I’m delighted that we have managed to return Rough to storage operations for this winter following a substantial investment in engineering modifications. Our long-term aim remains to turn the Rough field into the world’s biggest methane and hydrogen storage facility, bolstering the UK’s energy security, delivering a net zero electricity system by 2035, decarbonising the UK’s industrial clusters, such as the Humber region by 2040, and helping the UK economy by returning to being a net exporter of energy.

“In the short term we think Rough can help our energy system by storing natural gas when there is a surplus and producing this gas when the country needs it during cold snaps and peak demand. Rough is not a silver bullet for energy security, but it is a key part of a range of steps which can be taken to help the UK this winter.”


  1. Effectively, in the short term, Rough is a store for gas to help us through the winter.
  2. In the long-term, Rough will be turned into the world’s largest gas storage facility.
  3. It will be able to store both methane (natural gas) and hydrogen.

Having worked with project managers on complex oil and gas platforms and chemical plants, I wouldn’t be surprised to find, that when the design of this facility is released, it will be something special.

Centrica certainly seem to have upgraded Rough to be able to play a significant short term role this winter and they also seem to have developed a plan to give it a significant long-term role in the storage of hydrogen.

Aldbrough Gas Storage

A few miles up the coast is SSE’s and Equinor’s Aldbrough Gas Storage, which is being developed in salt caverns to hold natural gas and hydrogen.

Blending Of Hydrogen And Natural Gas

I believe that we’ll see a lot of blending of hydrogen and natural gas.

  • Up to 20 % of hydrogen can be blended, without the need to change appliances, boilers and processes.
  • This cuts carbon dioxide emissions.

I wrote about this in a post called HyDeploy.

It might be convenient to store hydrogen in Aldbrough and natural gas in Rough, so that customers could have the blend of gas they needed.

With two large gas stores for hydrogen under development, the HumberZero cluster is on its way.

October 28, 2022 - Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , ,


  1. Storage is filled through the Sumner usually when prices are lower although this year prices haven’t followed norms. Whilst milder weather is prevalent they can inject but you have to have the gas on hand to do so but we are already supporting Europe as well so unlikely to get imports from there. So its good news for longer term but not sure it helps this year but with LNG storage we are in goid shape. Also been more windy this season so far so thats avoiding gas burn

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | October 28, 2022 | Reply

    • I am a Graduate Control Engineer and I suspect there’s some very sophisticated modelling and control algorithms being used. I also have written some of the world’s most sophisticated project management systems.

      I suspect that the Aldbrough gas storage, which is close to Rough is being used in a very sophisticated way.

      Will gas tankers from the US and Qatar be delayed on the seas, so that they arrive, when the gas is needed?

      Similarly, will gas from Norway and UK fields be left in the ground, until the right time?

      Will heavy gas users like steel and cement makers we scheduled?

      I suspect there will be a lot of tricks used.

      Comment by AnonW | October 28, 2022 | Reply


        telegraph article says Centrica still in discussion with government over how its funded so it can be used at its full capacity. They don’t direct support just a regulatory regime that gives them confidence to invest in full capacity. Its a no brainer from my chair as far as im concerned we are going to need CCGTs as main alternative supply for at LEAST another two decades so best ensure we have a supply on hand for the windless days. Also Europe is going all out for LNG supplies now and in two years time demand into Nth Europe hubs will be three times this years levels so everyone is going to competing for that gas from a supply base that isn’t expanding at anywhere near that rate. So we need to be able to take advantage of buying gas at low prices in the summer months and storing it.

        Comment by Nicholas Lewis | October 29, 2022

  2. I feel they are right to call for better regulation. After all, look what Contracts for Difference have done for offshore wind production. Let’s hope it does the same for tidal power!

    At least the Crown Estate has used it to back some innovative ideas.

    I do hope that some of Rishi’s friends from hedge funds have a few beers with a group of regulators and representatives from the companies involved. Alcohol and especially real ale could be the magic lubricant.

    I do wonder if the energy companies have got such good modellers and the regulators can’t get a regime, that doesn’t obviously overpay the companies.

    Comment by AnonW | October 29, 2022 | Reply

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