First gas flows from platform

A GAS platform built in Hartlepool has produced its first fuel.

Centrica Energy started producing gas last weekend from its Ensign platform in the Southern North Sea, around 50 miles off the coast of Norfolk.

The 400-tonne structure was built by Heerema in Hartlepool for the Ensign field where the first gas was discovered in 1986.

But it took 25 years to make it commercially viable to produce and now bosses at Centrica say their technology, which utilises tight gas reservoirs, represents “significant opportunities” for getting more gas out of the North Sea.

Meanwhile, another project for Centrica which was built in Hartlepool, was expected to sail out of Hartlepool today.

The 2,750 tonne platform built at the Heerema fabrication yard in Greenland Road is for Centrica’s York Field Development gas field.

It consists of a 1,300 topside platform and a 1,450 tonnes jacket, which is the legs of the structure.

The whole structure is more than 200ft high and will be installed in a gas field at a depth of 130ft.

The transport and installation of Centrica’s York platform has been awarded to the company’s sister division Heerema Marine Contractors.

The York platform is an unmanned facility linked to Centrica’s gas terminal at Easington in the East Riding area of Yorkshire, via a 20-mile pipeline.

The York Field development will exploit gas reservoirs in the southern North Sea, around 20 mile north-east of Easington.