Centrica received the necessary approvals to launch the first phase of reopening Rough, the regulator North Sea Transition Authority said in a statement.
Centrica now has all required permissions from NSTA to restart the site, where storage functions were halted five years ago when it was deemed uneconomical to repair.
Rough’s storage capacity would be brought back gradually, Centrica has said, with the initial return this winter equaling some 10 liquefied natural gas cargoes.
While that won’t make a big difference to UK supply, every molecule counts for Europe and Britain in the current crisis.
The decision by Centrica and the UK government to close storage operations at Rough in 2017 - when Europe’s supplies from Russia were plentiful - has been widely criticized as it’s left the UK deeply exposed to gas flow disruptions, while the European Union has been racing to fill its inventories.
There’s still some work left to do before storage operations can start, according to Centrica, which wouldn’t elaborate on the timing.
The company has said that it’s hammering out a deal with the government on details - including subsidies for getting the site back in regular operation.
Still, Rough “can provide a significant increase in gas storage capacity for Great Britain and, consequently, promote security of supply,” UK energy regulator Ofgem said in a statement.
The overall cost to convert Rough back to a reserve site, with the longer-term prospect of storing hydrogen, is estimated at about £2 billion ($2.3 billion), but initial costs are expected to be marginal.