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Centrica Demand Billions Of Taxpayer Money

September 22, 2021
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By Paul Homewood 

Who let the barmpots out?

 

 

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A £1.6 billion plan to put Britain’s largest gas storage facility back to use in a new hydrogen-fuelled Net Zero era has been unveiled.

Just 19 miles off the East Yorkshire coast, a proposal to convert the huge Rough reservoir to handle the low carbon fuel – just as it did with gas – is being explored.

Bosses at Centrica Storage believe government delivering the right funding mechanism for the overhaul could provide a solution for the intermittent nature of both production and demand, while creating 350 permanent jobs and protecting hundreds more.

Thousands could be supported in construction, with new platform, pipeline and wells required..

Greg McKenna, chief executive, said: “We have some grand plans for Rough, subject to government backing. It is a £1.6 billion development, no-one is going to spend £1.6 billion if there isn’t some guaranteed return. We are looking for some government support model – it doesn’t need money to go into it. If we can get a regulated model from government we are prepared to go ahead and convert.”

Rough’s storage element closed in 2017, with the infrastructure having survived beyond its initial design life. The other 50 per cent of the field is still producing natural gas, though it is anticipated to come to an end in February 2023.

“The plan was to shut it down, which is a real shame to lose jobs, but also, Rough is the jewel in the crown of such reservoirs,” Mr McKenna said.

“The great thing is how it just fits in with the whole strategy on the Humber, with H2H, a big hydrogen reformer there, all the wind farms sitting off the coast potentially producing hydrogen and the Gigastack project across the river in Lincolnshire too. There could be all this excess hydrogen and you have to put it somewhere.

https://www.business-live.co.uk/economic-development/rough-return-16b-plan-britains-20984442

 

Pardon me for spoiling this fairy tale, but we are facing the current energy crisis precisely because we have so little gas storage, which is why we should not have shut Rough in the first place.

To fill Rough with hydrogen would need lots of natural gas that we don’t have. If we did, we could simply fill Rough with it anyway.

What Centrica are proposing is to use “surplus” wind power, which we also do not have, to create hydrogen to fill Rough instead.

Centrica do however, seem to have realised the tiny fault in Baldrick’s plan, when they admit:

It is a £1.6 billion development, no-one is going to spend £1.6 billion if there isn’t some guaranteed return. We are looking for some government support model – it doesn’t need money to go into it. If we can get a regulated model from government we are prepared to go ahead and convert”

TRANSLATION – “Nobody in their right mind would invest money in this load of old crap, least of all us. That is why we need taxpayers to stump up billions to subsidise it”

Or put another way:

Let’s manufacture hydrogen, at a huge cost to energy consumers, and then get taxpayers to spend billions more to store the stuff till we need it”

Everyone’s a winner! (Well, Centrica anyway!)

30 Comments
  1. Coeur de Lion permalink
    September 21, 2021 10:20 pm

    Boom

  2. September 21, 2021 10:23 pm

    “Old crap” or ‘new crap’, the age doesn’t matter, its just crap. And what’s really crap is that we have crap politicians who can’t understand it’s a load of crap.

    • September 22, 2021 6:50 am

      We have crap politicians who do not understand technology and who are advised by crap civil servants and environmentalists who don’t understand technology and we have a crap media who do not understand technology. Corrupt people who understand technology take advantage of the crap politicians and make a fortune from wasting taxpayers’ money.

      • September 22, 2021 7:47 am

        A perfect summary!

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        September 22, 2021 9:34 am

        Nothing to do with technogy, it’s economics they refuse to understand, and it’s economics the subsidy-farmers exploit. Take this piece: Centrica are selling it as “investment” and “jobs” (not withstanding the typo). But both cost us money. Economic illiterates in government think both are good so this project must be good. But higher investment and more jobs to produce the same thing make us poorer, not richer.

  3. September 21, 2021 10:28 pm

    Could hydrogen , if available, be safely stored there?

    • Ian Magness permalink
      September 21, 2021 11:51 pm

      Who cares?

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      September 21, 2021 11:52 pm

      Nice question. The original storage closed (actually in several stages) because it had started leaking. Some aspect of reservoir integrity is now surely in question. Its suitability as hydrogen storage is doubtful. In any case, they will need to drill new injection and extraction wells and run completely new pipe to shore all designed to cope with hydrogen. Best hope there is no sulphur contamination either. Those SRBs (sulphide reducing bugs!) and a bit of HIC (hydrogen induced cracking) can make a bit of a mess of an offshore pipeline.

    • Broadlands permalink
      September 22, 2021 12:32 am

      Ask the same question about CO2 captured, delivered in pipelines and stored under pressure in geological locations subject to earthquakes or volcanic activity. All very expensive and risky procedures to lower the atmospheric burden a trivial amount.

      Who cares? All those companies taking taxpayer subsidies to try it…but knowing they can’t do it in the amounts required to make a difference to the climate. A rip-off.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        September 22, 2021 11:08 am

        I think I saw a report somewhere that the technology for direct CO2 capture was an alternative to CO2 byproduct from other processes (some is produced as a byproduct to air liquefaction by BOC, Air Liquide etc. As well as the fertiliser route). However, it was far too expensive. That’s with a proper commercial use. Now just bury it for no return st all – indeed, with added cost.

  4. September 21, 2021 10:42 pm

    Another day, another boondoggle, if they can get away with it. The UK is going to be the world leader in wasting money on greencrap, if it isn’t already.

  5. Ann farmer permalink
    September 21, 2021 11:07 pm

    It looks like we may end up freezing to death because of global warming!

    On Tue, 21 Sept 2021 at 22:06, NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT wrote:

    > Paul Homewood posted: “By Paul Homewood Who let the barmpots out? A > £1.6 billion plan to put Britain’s largest gas storage facility back to use > in a new hydrogen-fuelled Net Zero era has been unveiled. Just 19 miles off > the East Yorkshir” >

  6. Martin Brumby permalink
    September 21, 2021 11:12 pm

    “It is a £1.6 billion development, no-one is going to spend £1.6 billion if there isn’t some guaranteed return.”

    Really?

    Where’s this clown been for the last few years?

    HS2?

    Track and Trace?

    Wind Turbines?

    Solar Panels?

    I guess at least 95% of readers on here could list two dozen bondoogles that our Beloved Leaders have picked and we have paid for, and which put together aren’t worth a fiddler’s fart.

    • JBW permalink
      September 22, 2021 8:21 am

      Not to mention other government failures like the R101 airship.

      https://www.airships.net/blog/british-airship-r101-crashes-killing-48-day-1930/

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      September 22, 2021 9:38 am

      No one is going to spend their own money.

      That’s the difference. Government is spending my money and it it’s totally wasted so what? Spend it on things 42% of the electorate think money should be spent on and you get re-elected. Imagine how wealthy this country would be had we not had 75 years of vast state spending reducing growth.

  7. Joe Public permalink
    September 22, 2021 12:19 am

    “ Rough is the jewel in the crown of such reservoirs,” Mr McKenna said.”

    It was when filled with natural gas having a Gross Calorific Value of 37.5 MJ/m3 to 43.0 MJ/m3 (approx 11.1kWh/m3)

    But the Gross Calorific Value of hydrogen is just 11.88 MJ/m3 (3.3kWh/m3) so less than 30% that of Nat Gas per unit volume. [AT STP]

    Filled with hydrogen, it’d not so much be a jewel, rather a piece of cracked glass.

    • Russ Wood permalink
      September 22, 2021 2:32 pm

      And, how long does anyone think that the hydrogen will STAY in the reservoir before it leaks out? Hydrogen does that! It will leak through steel pipes, let alone an already leaky geological structure!

  8. John Hultquist permalink
    September 22, 2021 3:53 am

    ” and then get taxpayers to spend billions more to store the stuff till we need it” ”

    The “need” is problematic. Where and how can H2 be used?
    Is there means to distribute it, and are the end-of-line facilities cabable?

  9. cookers52 permalink
    September 22, 2021 6:04 am

    The average man or woman in the street doesn’t know anything about how the stuff that heats our houses or fuels our transport is produced because it is not taught in school any more.

    Education is now just repackaged Greta thoughts, and she doesn’t go to school!

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      September 22, 2021 9:40 am

      Not thoughts, just regurgitated dogma.

  10. September 22, 2021 7:37 am

    Whose is going to invest in gas storage when the government is going around banning hydrocarbons.

  11. matelot 65 permalink
    September 22, 2021 7:42 am

    Has anyone done a feasibility study on whether the Rough field could actually contain Hydrogen? Or would the gas permeate the surrounding rock and bubble up through the sea? Just a thought.

    • Ian PRSY permalink
      September 22, 2021 8:47 am

      Yes, I thought one of the reasons the field was shut down was because of leakage.

  12. GeoffB permalink
    September 22, 2021 8:20 am

    We need a Russian campaign through Facebook and Twitter, to get the anti frackers to start demonstrating, and outline the risks, after all if pumping water into the Earth is dangerous then hydrogen must be way more dangerous, Come on Putin, protect your natural gas sales and do us a favour get XR going, On a technical note, what sort of pressure is it going to be stored at.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      September 23, 2021 2:20 am

      I read that Rough used to operate at up to 240 bar (3,500psi) when full. Pressure was reduced to around 200 bar after the first leaks.

  13. Mack permalink
    September 22, 2021 8:27 am

    And, meanwhile, back in another corner of Alice in Wonderland World, our government, who’ve been castigating and penalising Co2 emitters for years, now stumps up millions to prop up the biggest Co2 supplier in the country in a desperate attempt to prevent the economy crashing. Having just realised that you can’t run a modern functioning society without the demon gas, with any luck HMG might even get their heads around the theory of photosynthesis some time soon. Ok, perhaps the latter is a bit of a stretch for these clowns.

  14. Harry Passfield permalink
    September 22, 2021 8:58 am

    Sent this to the Editor of DT yesterday. Don’t see much chance of it being used….

    Sir,

    I’m fascinated by the subliminal messages coming from government and BBC over the shortage of carbon-dioxide – CO2. For that is indeed, its name: a colourless gas.

    However, when they come to refer to the very same chemical in relation to global warming – sorry, climate heating – they always, always refer to it as ‘carbon’.

    I’m sure they aren’t trying to frighten people with the spectre of a BLACK element. Surely not. But there is a name for that.

    Yours, etc

  15. Jordan permalink
    September 22, 2021 9:55 am

    Sorry folks, but they’re not barmpots. Maybe you’re failing to spot the game.
    The government is consulting on a hydrogen strategy and has simultaneously put up a low carbon “development” fund (for design and planning). Politically savvy big businesses will duly oblige, and it won’t cost them much to put some ideas on the table. Many design and planning consultancy firms will do very well.
    The oil majors have been playing this game for a couple of decades now. Why should Centrica be singled out for joining the game.
    There should be little doubt that Centrica has any expectations this proposal will get very far, but it creates a talking point for a couple of years and people talking about a future for Rough is better for Centrica than silence.
    As expected, proposals are hideously expensive and risky. Deeply unattractive alternatives create the illusion that new nuclear is the cheaper and more commercially reasonable road Net Zero El Dorado. That’s the government’s end game.
    New nuclear will never be compared with the “normal industry” costs and risks of unabated coal or gas. Nuclear would lose that particular contest.

  16. Robert Jones permalink
    September 22, 2021 10:28 am

    This novel idea has all the hallmarks of another bright idea from the Climate Change Committee?

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