Halite Energy has applied for a development consent order to store up to 900 million cubic metres of natural gas in a network of caverns to be created 300 metres below ground in the Preesall salt field in Lancashire.
The application has been made to the Infrastructure Planning Commission and is believed to be the first such proposal for a gas storage facility to be considered by the IPC. The IPC is an independent body set up by government to consider applications for nationally significant infrastructure projects.
Gas would be stored in up to 19 new underground caverns specifically created for the facility. The application includes an interconnector pipeline linking the facility to the gas national transmission system as well as pumping stations, compressor stations and other infrastructure.
Halite has been advised by planning consultants, Barton Willmore. Adrian James, head of Barton Willmore's energy team, said: 'We are pleased that the IPC has accepted our application and look forward to working with the Commission and the various consultees through the examination process."
The IPC will appoint commissioners to assess and to determine the application in accordance with the National Policy Statement for Energy (EN-1) and the National Policy Statement for Gas Supply Infrastructure and Gas and Oil Pipelines (EN-4) that were approved in July 2011.
A decision on the DCO is not expected until the end of this year.