August 7, 2012 / 8:26 AM / 5 years ago

RPT-GDF Suez, Centrica, Bayerngas to extract 18 bcm UK Cygnus gas field

* Joint venture values at 1.4 billion pounds

* Field holds significant supply of gas

By Henning Gloystein

LONDON, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Britain's 18 billion cubic metre (bcm) Cygnus gas field in the southern North Sea will be developed in a 1.4 billion pounds joint venture between GDF Suez , Centrica and Bayerngas, the UK government said on Tuesday.

The shallow water field has enough natural gas to provide around a quarter of Britain's annual gas demand.

The UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said that the gas of the 18 bcm shallow water Cygnus field in the southern North Sea was operated by French energy company GDF SUEZ and extracted together in partnership with Britain's Centrica and Germany's Bayerngas.

"The North Sea remains a vital source of the nation's energy security and our expertise is renowned the world over," UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey said in a statement.

"There continues to be significant interest in the annual licensing rounds. The go-ahead for the Cygnus field is terrific news, and will contribute substantially to the UK's gas needs and support thousands of high skilled jobs," he added.

The deal was announced during the British government's Global Business Summit on Energy that is being held in London on Monday and Tuesday to promote British business during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The government also announced that energy company BP was investing 60 million pounds in an International Centre for Advanced Materials (BP-ICAM) in cooperation with several higher education institutes such as the University of Manchester.

"Advanced materials and coatings will be vital in finding, producing and processing energy safely and efficiently in the years ahead," BP's CEO Bob Dudley said.

"The Government is committed to creating an environment in which innovation can thrive and businesses can grow," Chancellor George Osborne said.

"The oil and gas industry's ... industrial capacity and strength as an exporter are pivotal as we rebalance our economy," Business Secretary Vince Cable said. "Collaboration between business and higher education institutions is boosting the status of the UK as a driver of innovation."

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