Petrofac has acquired a 20% interest in the UK’s Gateway Storage Company to develop a gas storage project in the East Irish Sea.

Petrofac will become the technical project operator for Gateway and will be jointly responsible for developing the project.

At present the front end engineering and design (FEED) phase is nearing completion. The focus is on project execution and the finalisation of the consortium of storage capacity holders and investors to develop the project for the final investment decision to be made in 2011.

“We are entering the project at this stage to bring confidence to the investor group that execution and delivery objectives for the complete facilities can be met, and will use the full capabilities to optimise the facility design and deliver the project,” said Petrofac energy developments managing director Rob Jewkes.

The Petrofac acquisition is expected to cost up to £33m ($52m).

The Gateway Storage project, which will add about 30% to the gas storage capacity in the UK, secured the first gas storage licence from the UK Department of Energy & Climate Change in February 2010.

Gateway plans to start storage services to the UK’s energy markets in 2016.