Energy Minister Michael Fallon has told ELN he believes a new gas field cranking into gear soon is the UK’s “answer to Putin”.
His reference to the Russian President comes after months of concern over future gas supply from Russia via Ukraine, prompted by tensions between the two nations.
Speaking exclusively to ELN on the sidelines of an Oil and Gas UK report launch in Aberdeen this week, he said: “The Cygnus field in the southern North Sea will be 5% of our gas and that’s a huge protection in terms of energy security against any threat of unreliable supplies.”
Cygnus is in a stretch of North Sea to the east of England and owners GDF SUEZ, Centrica and Bayerngas expect to start pumping gas from 2015.
The UK has relatively little storage space for gas compared with some European neighbours like France and Germany and questions have been raised about how it would cope if there was a gas crisis.
Fresh from a visit to the fabrication yard at Nigg in Scotland on Wednesday, one of three British sites where machinery for the Cygnus field is being built, the minister seemed convinced the new field would help put any supply jitters behind us.
He said: “If you like, it’s Britain’s answer to Putin, we’ll have more of this gas and more of our energy homegrown here in Britain to make us more secure.”
Mr Fallon was also enthused by the project’s job opportunities: “So it’s a big development, what’s really pleasing about it is the work is being done in Britain, it’s being done in Inverness, being done in Methil in Fife and it’s being done in England at Hartlepool.”
More than £1.4 billion has been put towards the project which is expected to meet the gas demand of roughly 1.5 million homes.