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Britain's Centrica awarded gas storage licence for closed site

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FILE PHOTO: A British Gas sign is seen outside its offices in Staines in southern England
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By Susanna Twidale

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain’s Centrica has been awarded a gas storage licence for its closed Rough site off England's east coast, the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) said on Thursday.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and growing concerns over gas supplies this winter, Britain said in April that it was exploring all options to maintain security of gas supply, including gas storage.

The licence is the first step to a potential reopening of the site that closed in 2018 and previously provided about 70% of Britain’s gas storage capacity.

“The award of a licence allows COUK (Centrica offshore UK Ltd) to progress with seeking the further regulatory approvals required before gas storage operations can commence, including further approvals required from the NSTA,” the authority said on its website.

European countries are seeking to fill gas stocks to at least 80% full by November to contend with any potential shortages in supply from Russia.

Rough’s closure, however, left Britain with gas storage capacity equivalent to about four to five days of winter demand, down from 15 days previously.

Even though Britain typically obtains less than 4% of its gas from Russia, lower Russian supply drives up prices and means less gas could be available from Norway, Britain's largest supplier.

Centrica declined to comment on the licence award.

(Reporting by Susanna TwidaleEditing by David Goodman)

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