LONDON, April 2 (UPI) -- The start of natural gas production from Britain's offshore Rhyl field marks a first for the region in about 10 years, Centrica Energy said Tuesday.
Centrica is the sole owner and operator of the gas field in the Morecambe Bay about 24 miles off the British coast. The company said it started gas production there, marking the first time gas has been brought on stream from the region in about a decade.
"This is incredibly exciting news for everyone involved because it marks another lease of life for the Morecambe Bay area, securing energy for the U.K. and jobs for the local area," Centrica regional director Mike Astell said in a statement.
Centrica estimates the gas field would help secure 400 jobs for the region. Eurostat, the European Union's statistics office, reported Tuesday that unemployment in February was a seasonally adjusted 12 percent.
Centrica said the Rhyl development extends the production life from the Morecambe Bay beyond 2020. At the end of 2012, appraisal drilling confirmed the area holds as much as 80 billion cubic feet of natural gas.