JOBS have been safeguarded after gas giant Centrica announced a new gas field is to come on stream off the Lancashire coast.
The 400 jobs in Lancashire and Cumbria including jobs at Blackpool Airport, will remain as production from Morecambe Bay is extended past 2020.
The site, which was bigger than expected, is named Rhyl and is the first new gas from the field in ten years.
Engineers are flown out to the gas rigs from Blackpool airport by Bond Aviation helicopters.
The news came as Centrica unveiled its annual profits and said that production from the East Irish Sea area increased.
The company said upstream gas and oil profitability increased by 20 per cent to £919m (2011: £769m), reflecting higher production volumes and higher achieved prices.
Mike Astell, Regional Director EIS - CEU, said: “Centrica Energy has seen another successful year, in particular in the East Irish Sea where we have been carrying out the first development activity in over a decade.
“With Rhyl due to come on stream in the coming weeks we are extending production from Morecambe Bay past 2020, meaning that we can secure more gas for the UK as well as 400 jobs in the local area.
“At the same time we are continuing to invest in our Barrow terminals.
“As we move into a new phase of operations in the East Irish Sea, we will continue to invest in people, demonstrating our commitment to local community while ensuring our business is equipped with the next generation of innovators, leaders and engineers.”