New owner for gas storage operation

The Preesall site planned for Halites gas storage
The Preesall site planned for Halites gas storage

A new owner of a controversial gas storage project near Fleetwood has been announced, with claims the move has safeguarded the future of the multi-million pound scheme.

Halite Energy has announced the completion of a sale to Cheshire Energy Ltd, part of the NPL Group, for an undisclosed sum.

Keith Budinger, chief executive of Halite.

Keith Budinger, chief executive of Halite.

It follows a notification on the pages of Companies House, the UK’s registrar of companies, which seemed to suggest that Halite’s bills had been paid off.

The project is controversial, not only because of the actual proposals to store billions of cubic metres of gas close to homes, but the related plans to pump large amounts of brine into the Irish Sea.

Simon Towers, managing director of NPL, said: “I am delighted to be involved in this national infrastructure project.

“My team is looking forward to working with all stakeholders to deliver this important project in Lancashire, the industrial heart of the Northern Powerhouse.”

Claire Quaid, of No Gas Storage

Claire Quaid, of No Gas Storage

Keith Budinger, chief executive of Halite Energy added: “We are extremely pleased to have been acquired by NPL who already have a significant presence in Wyre developed over the past 15 years at the Hillhouse Enterprise Zone. Halite Energy is grateful for the support we have received from NPL.”

NPL Group is a commercial property developer whose businesses include Thornton Facility Management and NPL Developments.

Claire Quaid (inset), a member of No Gas Storage. said: “I’m susprised and disappointed that a company like NPL, which has local knowledge, could consider developing and funding this project.

“I hope that, given their local knowledge, they will look into it carefully, in particular the plans over brine deposits.”

The gas storage plans, intially planned by Halite’s predecessors Canatxx, were rejected three times at public inquiry before the government intervened.