InfraStrata seeks EU cash to help fund Islandmagee facility

Site of the proposed Islandmagee gas storage facility
Gary McDonald Business Editor

INFRASTRATA, the London-listed energy company which is seeking to develop a new multi-million pound natural gas storage facility at Islandmagee, has applied for a grant of €40 million from the European Union to help finance the project.

The facility was previously designated by the EU as a Project of Common Interest (PCI) because of its geographical location, which has enabled it to apply for the funding.

And InfraStrata's chief executive John Wood confirmed the company was now included on the latest PCI list, which is expected to be adopted by the European Commission by the end of this year and officially published by early 2020.

He said: "The support that the European Union has shown in relation to our Islandmagee gas storage project has been fantastic, and the fact that we have been invited to apply for inclusion in the next PCI list is testament to the strength of the project, as well as other projects we are evaluating.

"In considering potential projects, we have been clear to ensure our criteria matches with the list of key cross border infrastructure project requirements that link the energy systems of EU countries.”

InfraStrata wants to develop a 500 million cubic gas storage facility at Islandmagee that could potentially provide more than 25 per cent of the UK's natural gas storage and a flexible supply of gas for the island of Ireland.

The facility would also be connected to the Scotland-Northern Ireland pipeline to allow for exports to Britain when the interconnector is upgraded to accommodate two-way flows.

The company - which has just posted pre-tax losses of more than €1 million - has already invested around £13 million in the Islandmagee project, and sees the European money as essential to enable it to proceed.

The commercial rationale for InfraStrata's gas storage facility has strengthened since the permanent closure of the UK's largest gas storage plant, the Rough facility off the coast of Yorkshire, has left the UK without 70 per cent of its former storage capacity.

InfraStrata is going it alone on the Islandmagee facility after Mutual Energy released its 10 per cent holding in the scheme to concentrate on its Gas to the West project.

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