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CATS celebrates 30th anniversary

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The Central Area Transmission System (CATS) facility in Teesside is celebrating 30 years of gas production.

It is 30 years to the day since first gas was received at the terminal – on 12th May 1993 – and throughout the years CATS has evolved to become a nationally-significant energy infrastructure asset that is poised to play a crucial role in helping the UK achieve net zero.

Wood took on the duty holdership of CATS in 2015 and continues to provide all engineering services and onsite support Last year, the CATS system delivered more than nine billion standard cubic metres of gas to UK markets, safely and reliably – the equivalent of providing heating to millions of households. Earlier this year, CATS demonstrated its steadfast commitment to safety by achieving 20 years without a lost time incident while securing a large percentage of the UK’s Energy.

One member of team Wood, who has been working at the terminal since the very beginning, is Mike Ward. Mike is the site’s Operations Team Leader and Area Authority and played a significant role in enabling first gas at the terminal 30 years ago. We took a trip down memory lane with Mike to find out about the early days of CATS and how things have changed over the years:

What do you remember from 12th May 1993?

All pre-flow commissioning checks had already been signed off by management, so on the day itself we were just waiting on a call from the commercial team. Along with another operator, Tony Russell, I was dispatched to the outlet ESD (emergency shut down) valve on the export line. Tony and I were in radio communication with the control room and on receiving the instruction, with both our hands on the plunger, we reset the valve. There wasn’t any real drama except for a few cheers that could be heard over the radio coming from the control room.

How has your role at CATS evolved over the years?

I started out in a small operations team that was performing the final commissioning checks to get the terminal ready for gas flow, before moving into the operational phase. Since then, I have stayed close to the operations team – first as an outside operator, then a control room operator, before being promoted to my current team leader role which I have been doing for nearly 20 years.

What does a typical day at CATS look like for you today?

Right now, I am the acting Area Authority for CATS and responsible for all day-to-day activities that take place at site. My day typically starts around 06:30 and I carry out administration relating to the control of work system, ensuring work permits are correct and available to allow for the maintenance and operations teams to perform the day’s tasks. This is an ongoing activity throughout the day to make sure permits are submitted on time and are fit for purpose.

Do not translate Wood