Delays to gas scheme brine pipe confirmed

Aerial View of Fleetwood and Over Wyre - l-r Knott End  Preesall , Stalmine ,The Heads , Hambleton / site of the proposed Halite gas storage - River Wyre Estuary /
Aerial View of Fleetwood and Over Wyre - l-r Knott End Preesall , Stalmine ,The Heads , Hambleton / site of the proposed Halite gas storage - River Wyre Estuary /
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An energy firm behind a controversial £660m gas storage project in Preesall has confirmed construction of a brine outfall pipe is a year behind schedule.

Halite Energy says on-site preparation in Preesall will continue “in the first quarter of this year” as originally planned.

Keith Budinger, chief executive at Halite Energy.

Keith Budinger, chief executive at Halite Energy.

But the hold-up of the pipe, from which Halite will pump brine into Morecambe Bay as part of the process of drilling caverns into salt seams to store the gas, could delay the overall scheme.

Halite, which intends to store 900 million cubic metres of gas in salt caverns under the River Wyre, was responding to rumours that maritime surveys due to be carried out have been delayed for a year.

Adverse weather in 2017 has been blamed for the delay in marine testing.

Concerns have been raised by various groups about the impact of the brine deposits on the Bay’s marine life, with Halite planning to pump 80,000 cubic metres of brine a day into the sea.

The pipe will extend just over a mile out to sea at Rossall, Fleetwood.

Keith Budinger, chief executive of Halite Energy, said: “As with every development project, there is a lot of pre-construction work including surveys, detailed design work and communication with regulators and partners to ensure the highest quality build process with minimum disruption to the local area and environment.

“We are working closely with our environmental specialists and the relevant bodies and authorities to undertake marine testing at the optimum time.

“With a number of different marine organisms and plants potentially affected, the timing is key.

“The survey was planned for last summer but due to adverse weather conditions, will now be conducted during the summer months of 2018.

“This will delay the construction of the outfall pipe but we will start on site during the first quarter of 2018 as previously planned.”

Campaign group No Gas Storage will hold a public meeting at Knott End Golf Club this Friday, at 7.30pm and Halite representatives look set to attend.