Hartlepool praised by MP as vital to future of UK energy sector

The 80ft Cygnus Alpha platform makes its way out of Hartlepool on its journey to the gas site in the North Sea.

The 80ft Cygnus Alpha platform makes its way out of Hartlepool on its journey to the gas site in the North Sea.

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Hartlepool’s importance to the future of the energy sector has been hailed by the town’s MP.

The town’s Heerema fabrication yard was involved in building many of the platforms used by the Cygnus gas field.

Iain Wright MP has praised Hartlepool's role in the project.

Iain Wright MP has praised Hartlepool's role in the project.

Cygnus, which is now helping to warm hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in the country, is on course to be the largest-producing gas field in the UK North Sea in 2017.

It has started production, and at peak, will contribute to 5% of the UK’s total gas production, enough to heat 1.5million homes.

Hartlepool has been central to the project, with the gas field operated by ENGIE E&P UK Limited, with Centrica plc owning a 48.75% interest.

Iain Wright, MP for Hartlepool and chairman of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, said: “Hartlepool’s fabrication yards, employing more than 700 people, helped deliver the Cygnus project, which will now provide enough gas to heat the equivalent of 1.5million British homes.

Hartlepool’s fabrication yards, employing more than 700 people, helped deliver the Cygnus project, which will now provide enough gas to heat the equivalent of 1.5million British homes

Iain Wright MP

“This achievement underlines just how important North East England is as an energy hub and I welcome the £1.3billion that Centrica and their partners have invested in this project, both in Hartlepool and right across the UK.”

First gas from Cygnus has flowed into the National Transmission System.

It has already contributed £1.3million to the UK ecomony, with 5,000 jobs created during the construction phase alone, which started in 2012.

The gas field is located 150km off the Linconshire coast.

The platforms each weigh up to 4,400 tonnes, and were built in yards in Hartlepool and Fife.

Chris Cox, managing director of Centrica’s exploration and production business, said: “The Cygnus field is hugely important to the country’s energy supply, so we are proud that gas is now flowing from the field and into homes and businesses across the UK.

“This milestone was only possible thanks to the hard work and collaboration of the teams across Centrica, ENGIE E&P, Bayerngas and our supply chain partners.”

Work is already underway to extend the field further via fresh wells being drilled.

Gas from Cygnus will be processed at the Bacton Gas Terminal in Norfolk, and the field is estimated to have 2P reserves of 636bn cubic feet of gas.

Ruud Zoon, managing director of ENGIE E&P UK Ltd, said: “Over 5,000 colleagues, contractors and suppliers have contributed to this landmark development and, most importantly, have maintained an excellent safety record since the project was approved in 2012.

“First gas from Cygnus represents a significant boost to the UK’s long term energy security, with an estimated production life exceeding 20 years.

“Furthermore, with over 80% of the contract work secured by British businesses – including fabrication yards in Hartlepool, Methil and Burntisland – it is a showcase for the technical and commercial excellence of the UK oil and gas supply chain.”