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Baction gas site operating again

PUBLISHED: 16:46 04 March 2008 | UPDATED: 08:52 13 July 2010

Dominic Chessum

The Shell plant at Bacton gas terminal is gradually being brought back into operation less than a week after a blaze ripped though part of the site.

But it is not known how long it will be before the plant is running at full capacity once again.

The Shell plant at Bacton gas terminal is gradually being brought back into operation less than a week after a blaze ripped though part of the site.

But it is not known how long it will be before the plant is running at full capacity once again.

The plant on the north Norfolk coast is responsible for supplying about 10pc of Britain's gas needs and engineers yesterday began the process of bringing production back up to normal levels.

A shell spokesman refused to speculate on when the site would be fully operational once more but said: “It is not just a case of turning on a valve.

“The whole plant has to be pressurised and gassed up before it can accept gas from the North Sea fields.”

Bacton is one of the largest gas terminal complexes in the UK and handles one third of the nations gas supply.

The site has five separate terminals which deal with gas supplies from three North Sea fields. Gas is also landed from Europe via the Interconnector terminal.

Stuart Lark from National Grid said: “In terms of the impact on national gas supplies there is plenty coming into the country. The fire has not caused any supply problems and that is still the case.”

A multi-agency investigation into Thursday evening's the blaze is still ongoing.

It involves experts from Shell, the Health and Safety Executive, the Environment Agency, police and the fire service.

As yet it is not known when this will be completed.

Shell has refused to speculate on the cause of the blaze or give details of the amount of damage it caused until the investigation has finished.

The plant began shutting down almost immediately the alarm was raised at about 5.40pm last Thursday, rocking neighbouring homes.

More than 40 workers were evacuated unhurt from the plant and fire crews were on the scene within minutes.

With nine fire appliances and 74 fire fighters on site it took less than two hours to shut down the plant's operation completely and put out the fire which was contained in the site's waste water treatment system.

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