A MASSIVE new gas field has been discovered off the Tees Valley coast.
The discovery of the Pegasus field has just been announced to industry experts who will now work out how best to develop it.
The new field is in the same area as the Cygnus development which, at its peak, will produce enough gas to meet the needs of 1.5 million UK homes.
There are no indicators yet on how big Pegasus could be, how many jobs it could create or what infrastructure will be needed.
But tests carried out at the Pegasus West area of the new field, were very positive.
They indicated a combined, sustained flow rate of more than 90m standard cubic feet of gas per day which is the equivalent of 15,000 barrels of oil.
The field is being investigated by Centrica Energy which already operates several fields in the Southern North Sea. It drilled the exploration well at Pegasus West, using the Paragon 391 jack-up rig, as part of its strategy to build on its existing hubs of development.
Pegasus is around 90 miles east of Teesside, close to the large Cygnus gas development.
Colette Cohen, senior vice-president for the UK and the Netherlands for Centrica, said: “As we continue to find and secure gas supplies for the UK, new discoveries like Pegasus prove there are many years left in the North Sea oil and gas industry and we are determined to play our part in maximising the region’s potential.”
The Pegasus West well will now be suspended while bosses assess the data that has been gathered and while a decision is made on development.
Centrica Energy has a 55 per cent operated interest in Pegasus, which includes the Pegasus North well drilled in 2011, along with partners Third Energy which has a 35 per cent interest and Atlantic Petroleum which has a ten per cent interest.
Atlantic Petroleum chief executive Ben Arabo said he was “extremely pleased with the results of the well.” He said the results could “only have a positive impact on other similar prospects.”
Cygnus will bring nearly £90m to the local economy and secure over 400 jobs. Economic benefits will be felt across the UK, in particular throughout Scotland and North-East England where 19,000 tonnes of offshore infrastructure is being built at yards in Hartlepool, Fife and the Highlands.