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Centrica Energy has paid tribute to the life of one of its pioneering exploration engineers who first discovered gas in Morecambe Bay


Retired Chief Petrophysicist John Bains has died following a distinguished career which saw him discover one of the UK’s largest gas fields.

John first discovered gas reserves in Morecambe Bay in 1972. However, his work was initially dismissed by the company that owned the drilling rights to the area which had been focusing its search on finding oil rather than gas.

British Gas acquired the drilling rights for the region and, thanks to John’s tenacity and perseverance, an exploration well was drilled in 1974.

Eleven years later gas production started from one of the UK’s largest gas fields which, at its peak, met 12 per cent of the UK’s gas supply.

Today operations in Morecambe Bay, which are central to Centrica Energy exploration and production business, account for around eight per cent of UK Continental Shelf gas supply and produce 500m cubic feet of gas every day.

Earlier this year, the future of the East Irish Sea operations were extended further following the first new gas in a decade from the Rhyl gas field being brought on stream.

Three decades after John’s original discovery, his contribution to UK gas exploration and production was officially recognised when Centrica named its Bains gas field after him.

Mark Hanafin, Centrica Energy’s Managing Director, said:

“We would like to pay tribute to John Bains and celebrate his contribution to UK gas exploration and production.

“John’s determination and expertise uncovered one of the UK’s most important gas fields which has kept millions of homes warm ever since.

“John was hugely respected in his field and revered at Centrica Energy as the father of the Morecambe Bay development.

“At Centrica Energy we pride ourselves on our ‘pioneering’ spirit to extract and process gas from the East Irish Sea and North Sea - John’s vision and perseverance encapsulates this very ethos.”

In his published paper ‘Undiscovery of wells in the UK Continental Shelf’, industry expert Graham Dean said: “Without the work of John Bains and others the UK oil and gas industry would be very different and the UK would be poorer.”

Notes to Editors

· Centrica is a top 30 FTSE 100 integrated energy company operating predominantly in the UK, North America, Canada, Trinidad & Tobago.

· Centrica Energy’s East Irish Sea operations in Morecambe Bay have been a cornerstone asset of the business since it was formed following the demerger with British Gas.

· First gas from Morecambe Bay began in 1985. Today the region produces 500m cubic feet of gas every day, accounting for around 8 per cent of UK Continental Shelf supply. The first new gas production from Morecambe Bay in 10 years came on stream in March 2013 from the new Rhyl gas field.

· Centrica Energy East Irish Sea operations includes eight offshore platforms; it operates a further two platforms on behalf of ConocoPhillips.

· Centrica Energy employ around 400 people across its offshore gas platforms in Morecambe Bay, its gas processing facilities in Barrow in Furness, Cumbria, and its support base in Heysham, Lancashire.


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