Canvey gas scheme partners file appeal

LONDON (Reuters) - Centrica CNA.L and its partners in a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Essex have appealed against a local government's refusal to grant planning permission, the company said on Tuesday.

“The Canvey partners are challenging the planning rejection made by Castlepoint Borough Council in September 2006,” Centrica, the country’s largest gas supplier, said in a statement.

The plant at Canvey Island would be the fourth LNG import plant in the UK and could import five percent of the country’s gas needs.

Britain, Europe’s biggest gas consumer, is turning to LNG as a new source of gas as output from its mature North Sea fields, which once made it self-sufficient, is falling fast.

Centrica's partners in Canvey, which will cost between 150 million pounds ($289.2 million) and 200 million pounds, are Calor Gas and LNG Japan, a joint venture between Sojitz Corporation and Sumitomo 8053.T.

Planning permission for the Canvey project was refused on the grounds that its benefits to the UK would not outweigh any harm to the local environment.

Centrica said: “Canvey could be vital in terms of the UK’s long term security and diversity of energy supply.”

The companies want to reinstate the Canvey Island site which received Britain’s first LNG cargo in 1964 but was converted into a storage facility for liquefied petroleum gas in the 1990s.

The companies have said they want to open the terminal in 2010.