By Scott Wright

NEPTUNE Energy has started drilling a tenth well on the giant Cygnus field that it says will provide a much-needed boost to domestic gas production in the UK.

The energy giant, which runs its UK operation from Aberdeen, said the infilling campaign in the southern North Sea has the potential to supply enough gas to heat a further 200,000 homes per year from this winter.

Cygnus will be capable of producing enough gas for around two million UK households on completion of the well in the fourth quarter, Neptune added.

It comes as new figures from industry body OEUK show domestic gas production increased by 26 per cent in the first half of the year, reducing the country’s dependence on energy imports. OEUK said the rise is sufficient to heat nearly 3.5 million UK homes for a year.

Alan Muirhead, Neptune’s UK country director, said: “Domestic production has a crucial role in supporting UK energy security and Neptune has been working hard to incrementally increase natural gas supplies from its operated assets.”