ALDBROUGH, England, June 28 (UPI) -- Underground natural gas storage facilities are vital to energy security in the United Kingdom, the British energy minister said.
British Energy Minister Charles Hendry attended the inauguration of the Aldbrough underground natural gas storage facility in northeast England.
The gas storage facility consists of nine underground caverns located more than a mile below the surface. Six of the nine caverns are already storing natural gas using a process that replaces the seawater with gas under pressure.
"Together with our domestic production and imports, gas storage is a crucial part of ensuring we keep the lights on," Hendry said in a statement.
The entire Aldbrough facility -- all nine caverns -- will be ready for operation by summer 2012. It's designed to hold as much as 1.16 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
The Aldbrough facility is owned by Scottish and Southern Energy and Norwegian energy company Statoil.