More details have been revealed of a major gas project which could bring hundreds of jobs to Barrow.

Over the last year, plans have been steadily progressing to position a floating storage and regasification unit off the coast of Barrow - a project worth up to £450m.

UK energy infrastructure company InfraStrata is behind the project to build and install the unit, which would deliver gas directly to the National Grid.

InfraStrata chief executive John Wood and chief financial officer Arun Raman said the firm already has a major stake in the UK gas market in the form of the Islandmagee underground gas storage project in Northern Ireland.

It signed an exclusivity agreement with West Face Long Term Opportunities Global Master, owner of Port Meridian Holdings, which in turn owned the land, options on easements, planning permission and other intangibles relating to the project near Barrow.

After eight months of technical and commercial due diligence, InfraStrata has agreed to acquire the project for £8m.

The project itself will see liquid natural gas delivered to an FSRU about 35km out to sea.

The FSRU itself could take the form of a converted tanker or huge barge with a subsea pipeline connecting it to a processing facility onshore where the gas can be delivered directly to the National Grid.

The gas delivered to the FSRU could come from all over the world, with the four main areas of production being Australia, Russia, America and the Middle East.

“Think of it as mooring a very large LNG vessel offshore which acts as a storage unit and regasification unit,” says Arun.

“You will have another LNG vessel docking side by side discharging the cargo into the FSRU.

“It sits there for a period of time and when the client wants the gas in the network the FSRU uses its regasification unit to convert the gas into vapour and send it via the pipeline into the network grid. The gas market used to be very localised with only a handful of players, but over the last three to four years there has been an explosion globally.”

InfraStrata hopes the FSRU will have the capacity for five to six million tonnes of gas a year and could be up and running within three to five years.

John says it will create construction jobs and ongoing employment for people involved in servicing and maintenance.

“You are probably talking in the region of 40 to 50 jobs ongoing permanently, direct employees working on the vessel,” he said.

“Then you’re looking at the subcontract and supply chain, you are probably talking about another couple of hundred jobs. During the construction phase for the pipeline you’ll be talking several hundred.”