British Gas-owner Centrica will close its Rough gas storage facility in the North Sea over safety fears and concerns over the site’s financial viability.

Rough, which consists of a partially depleted gas field off the coast of Yorkshire and a gas processing terminal near Hull, accounts for about 70% of Great Britain’s gas storage capacity.

All 30 of the sites wells were taken offline over the winter for checks, with 20 of them previously slated to reopen.

Centrica said it would extract the remaining gas from the site.

‘More imports required’

Katrina Oldham, an energy trader at Inenco, said: “The market will be more exposed to international price fluctuations as more imports will be required to balance Britain’s gas market when cold.”

Trevor Sikorski, an analyst at Energy Aspects, added that the closure of Rough would increase British wholesale gas prices in winter and reduce them in summer.

Ken Cronin, Chief Executive of the UK Onshore Oil & Gas trade body, argued that the closure strengthened the case for allowing shale gas extraction in Great Britain.

> See Centrica's statement