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Centrica mulls storing hydrogen under North Sea

Suban Abdulla
·2-min read
Oil rig with Oil and gas industry platform for produced crude oil, natural gas and produced water in offshore or gulf, petroleum field. The picture was taken in bird eyes view on helicopter or chopper.
Hydrogen can be made via several ways. either through electrolysis or from natural gas, a process that emits vast amounts of carbon. Currently, most of hydrogen in Britain is made from natural gas. Photo: Getty

British Gas owner, Centrica (CNA.L) is considering converting its Rough natural gas storage site off the coast of Yorkshire to store hydrogen.

The energy supplier, which closed Rough as a natural gas storage site in 2017, is said to be considering re-purposing the site following increasing interest in the clean-burning fuel, the Telegraph reports.

Centrica is also joining the Hydrogen Taskforce — a group of industry players who lobby the UK government to support hydrogen development — whose other members include BP (BP.L) Northern Gas Networks, Arup and ITM Power (ITM.L).

"Centrica’s joining the Taskforce will add its significant experience and expertise to this coalition’s work engaging with the UK government,” Gareth Morrell, from the Hydrogen Taskforce, said.

Hydrogen can be made via several ways. either through electrolysis or from natural gas, a process that emits vast amounts of carbon. Currently, most of hydrogen in Britain is made from natural gas.

The UK government, which is keen to have 5GW (gigawatts) of low-carbon hydrogen capacity by 2050, has said that hydrogen will help it reach its target of net zero carbon emissions.

Yahoo Finance has reached out to Centrica for comment.

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Centrica’s closed Rough storage site is a depleted gas field about 29km off the east coast of Yorkshire, roughly six miles long and up to 117 feet deep. Gas can be pumped in and held under pressure by the surrounding rock.

Chris O’Shea, Centrica’s chief executive, told the newspaper that hydrogen would be "key" to reducing carbon emissions.

He added: "We look forward to playing our part to help secure the role of hydrogen production and storage in the future energy mix.

"The heating of homes and businesses is the single largest contributor to carbon emissions in the UK, and so we must support customers to transition to low carbon technologies.”

The news comes amid mounting pressure on firms to clean up their act, as the government looks for ways to hit its targets to reach net-zero by 2050. It said in last month’s energy white paper that North Sea licensing would have to fall in line.

North Sea oil and gas producers from the UK government to reduce their emissions to reach “net-zero” targets or face being rejected for North Sea drilling licences.

On Sunday, the government’s new business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said firms would only get government backing if they took decarbonisation “very seriously indeed.”

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