French storage operator Storengy has sold capacity at its UK-based Stublach natural gas storage site ahead of the facility’s launch this summer, the company confirmed by email on Tuesday.
The site will start commercial operations with an initial capacity of 40 million cubic metres (mcm) with a specific start date yet to be confirmed.
“We have secured customers, including one who has signed up for a significant part of the [available] capacity,” a Storengy spokeswoman said.
The site will be constructed in two stages. Phase one – or the first ten caverns – is set to be completed by winter 2015, while phase two is to be finished by 2018.
The finished facility is to have 20 caverns with a total capacity of 400mcm. Injection and withdrawal rates would be up to 30mcm/day. This puts it in the same bracket as SSE’s Aldbrough and EON’s Holford facilities, which shippers often rely on to balance the British system.
Earlier this month, Storengy submitted a Third Party Access (TPA) exemption request to British regulator Ofgem for the second phase of the Stublach facility development ( see ESGM 26 March ).
TPA allows for non-discriminatory access to infrastructure, such as a storage site, by those who do not own it. Exemptions, where granted, may limit market access to the capacity but may also help an operator get a site off the ground financially.
Ofgem has launched a consultation, running until 2 May, to seek the market’s view on whether Storengy should be granted the exemption. The regulator will then decide on the matter. Jack Elliott