The KGSP involves using specially designed underground salt cavities – created through solution mining – to store gas. INOVYN Enterprises has been solution mining the Holford Brinefield to produce brine for over 90 years. The cavities left behind once the brine is mined have been used to safely store gas since the 1980s.
Brine is a concentrated salt solution that is used to make chlorine (which makes our drinking water safe) and everyday essentials such as washing powder, toothpaste and table salt.
In 2017, we were given planning permission to store natural gas in newly created cavities. Because of the project’s importance in helping the UK meet its increasing energy needs, it was classified as an NSIP. This means that rather than going through the local authority like most planning applications, it required a Development Consent Order (DCO) from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
What did the original project include?
The main aspect of the consented project is:
- The construction and operation of up to 19 underground cavities with capacity to store up to 500 million standard cubic meters (mcm) of natural gas, having an import and export capability of up to 34 mcm per day
There were also some smaller construction works to be delivered as part of the Project:
- Two new brine tanks on the Lostock Works site, off Griffiths Road, Northwich
- The refurbishment of the existing Whitley Pumping Station in Whitley
- The extension of an existing brine outfall pipeline, located at the main INOVYN ChorVinyls site in Runcorn
- The existing brine pipeline (which runs from the Lostock Brine Purification Plant in Northwich to Runcorn) will continue to be used to transport brine to INOVYN’ operations in Runcorn. This pipeline will not be used to transport gas.
You can view details of the consented development in the Library by clicking here.
Visit the Plans page to find out how we’re looking to amend the project to enable us to store hydrogen.
KGSP: Progress so far
We have already started construction of the KGSP. Work currently being undertaken includes building new site roads.
- New entrance from the site road close to the main entrance off King Street – this is complete
- New junction at Yatehouse Lane/Brownhayes Drive – this is nearly complete with fencing now installed. We are also discussing with Cheshire West & Chester Council about including some new white lines to mark the road from the junction.
- New site entrance at Drakelow Lane
Investing in further gas storage in Cheshire
INOVYN has an ongoing demand for brine to meet the needs of our operations across Cheshire and our other customers in the chemical industry. Even without gas storage, cavities would still be required to provide the brine. The KGSP will make use of the salt cavities once all brine has been extracted.
Cheshire’s geology also means it is one of the few places in the UK where gas can be safely stored underground and there are already a number of existing gas storage facilities operating in the area.
The proposed gas storage site is immediately adjacent to two existing underground gas storage facilities, the Holford Gas Storage Facility, operated by Uniper and the Stublach Gas Storage Project, operated by Storengy.
INOVYN Enterprises and its predecessors have been mining the Holford Brinefield for generations and have an excellent understanding of the geology in the area. KGSL also appointed Geostock, one of the leading companies specialising in underground storage, to commission seismic surveys that have helped us to determine the best locations for the cavities. The facilities have to meet strict safety standards, which are amongst the most stringent in the world.
Technicians working at the Runcorn site