British Gas owner Centrica has closed six of the 30 wells at its Rough gas storage facility off the coast of Yorkshire.

Closing the wells will slow down the rate at which Centrica can extract gas from below the seabed.

Two of the six wells were already out of service, but the other four had operated as recently as last year.

Rough is the largest gas storage facility in the UK, able to meet about 10% of the country’s winter peak day demand and representing more than 70% of the nation’s current storage capacity.

‘Minimal impact’

Gas is usually pumped into Rough during the summer and then extracted again in the winter.

Centrica said that the UK only stores 6% of its annual gas consumption at present, compared to 25% in France and Germany’s 26%.

The company added that closing the six wells would have “minimal impact on Rough’s capabilities”.

But research firm BMI said Centrica is “likely to experience deliverability issues over the winter and is vulnerable to sharp price movements as witnessed in 2013”.

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