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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Centrica’s £84m Barrow pipeline project to secure 300 jobs

THE company which owns Barrow’s gas terminals is investing £84m in a major construction project which will sustain and create 300 jobs.

50063816B001
TEAM WORK Barrow gas terminals manager Darrell Hampshire and commissioning manager Tony Fitzgerald, pictured left and right with contractors who are working on the pipeline. pictures by JON GRANGER REF: 50063816B001

Preliminary work has already started on Centrica’s new pipeline project at the terminals, which will see a 1.5km 36inch underground pipe run from the south to north terminals.

The investment has been described as “indicative of Centrica’s commitment to Barrow”, by terminals manager Darrell Hampshire.

He said: “We started the work four weeks ago and we expect the work to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2015.

“During construction we will have 300 people working on the project, made up of 200 onsite and 100 offsite supporting the engineering, fabrication and construction work.”

The new pipeline is needed because of European Union legislation which will prohibit the sale of a refrigerant called Freon from the end of 2014. Freon is used to cool the gas piped to the south terminal as part of the process to “clean” it before it can be pumped into the National Grid.

Barrow’s gas terminals are responsible for around eight per cent of the UK’s gas supply, down from a peak of 25 per cent after the site first opened in the early 1980s.

With the impending ban on the sale of Freon, Centrica has had to look for alternative technologies.

The solution, Mr Hampshire explained, is a “drying bead” which acts in the same way as silica gel found in new bags or shoes are used to absorb moisture.

The alternative technology is already used at Centrica’s north terminal in Barrow, the new pipeline will transfer the south terminal gas 1.5km underground to the neighbouring terminal.

Around 300 workers are expected to be involved on the project, with a number of local positions being created by main contractor Costain and secondary contractor Land and Marine.

There are no plans as yet to alter operations at the south terminal, with Centrica awaiting analysis of geological surveys to ascertain if there are any additional deposits of natural gas in the Irish Sea which could be extracted.

Around 200 people work at the terminals in Barrow, with a further 200 based at Centrica’s base in Morecambe.

Mr Hampshire added: “We are here to stay and reliably produce gas and put it back into the grid.”

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