Meg Davidson, 2009. "Underground gas storage project at Welton oilfield, Lincolnshire: Local perspectives and responses to planning, environmental and community safety issues", Underground Gas Storage: Worldwide Experiences and Future Development in the UK and Europe, D. J. Evans, R. A. Chadwick
Download citation file:
This paper describes the research undertaken by two local councillors to assess the proposed underground gas storage (UGS) scheme at Welton oilfield, Lincolnshire and the implications for the local community. Compared to the US, where over 300 operational gas storage facilities in onshore depleted fields exist, this form of gas storage is in its infancy in the UK. This has proved to be a challenge for the various agencies involved in the planning process.
The councillors have identified a number of planning and safety issues which merit further consideration, including the applicability of the control of major accident hazards (COMAH) regulations, well integrity and the effects of re-pressurization of the oilfield.
The proposed UGS facility is in close proximity to residential areas and concern amongst local residents is considerable. The councillors believe that their research has shown that insufficient attention has so far been given to community safety issues. A full and thorough assessment of all potential risks associated with this particular type of UGS needs to be undertaken and appropriate safeguards put in place to protect the local community.
Figures & Tables
The UK became a net importer of natural gas in 2004 and by 2020 will import up to 90% of its requirements, leaving it vulnerable to increasing energy bills and risk of disruption to supply. New pipelines to Europe and improvements to interconnectors will meet some demand, but Government recognizes the need for increased gas storage capacity: this may be best met by the construction of underground storage facilities. Energy security has also raised the likelihood of a new generation of coal-fired power-stations, which to be environmentally viable, will require clean-coal technologies with near-zero greenhouse gas emissions. A key element of this strategy will be underground CO2 storage. This volume reviews the technologies and issues involved in the underground storage of natural gas and CO2, with examples from the UK and overseas. The potential for underground storage of other gases such as hydrogen, or compressed air linked to renewable sources is also reviewed.