UK-based energy services and solutions provider Centrica has received a gas storage licence for its closed Rough site off England’s east coast.

The licence was issued by the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) and marks the initial step for the firm in reopening the site, which was closed in 2017 for being uneconomical.

The authority said in a statement: “The award of a licence allows Centrica offshore UK Ltd (COUK) to progress with seeking the further regulatory approvals required before gas storage operations can commence, including further approvals required from the NSTA.”

The approval forms part of the country’s efforts to maintain security of gas supply, including gas storage, amid increasing concerns over gas supplies this winter after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Rough site, which had the capacity to store approximately 100 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas, accounted for nearly 70% of Britain’s gas storage capacity before its closure.

The facility is anticipated to be reopened as soon as the autumn. Despite this, the UK ministers are in deliberations with the firm over possible financial aid needed to reopen the site, reported the Daily Telegraph.

In a separate development, Cyprus and Chevron have agreed to accelerate the development of the Aphrodite gas field to supply Egypt and the European markets.

Located 30km north-west of the Leviathan gas field in block 12 of the Cypriot exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the field is estimated to hold untapped resources of approximately 4.5 trillion cubic metres of gas.

As per the framework of an approved development and production plan, Chevron will undertake on-site drilling of a new well in the coming months.

Cyprus Ministry of Energy said in a statement: “Chevron is also in the process of finalising the optimisation of the ‘Aphrodite’ field’s development concept, through possible synergies with other facilities in the region, thereby recognising the importance of Eastern Mediterranean gas resources.”