UK-Europe gas link opens

October 1, 1998, 10:00 CEST

Gas can technically start flowing today, 1 October, between the UK and continental Europe via the new Interconnector pipeline.

This development has been described as one of the most important infrastructure projects of recent years in the European gas sector.

Gas markets in Britain and the rest of Europe will be tied together by the new line, which runs from Bacton in eastern England to Zeebrugge in Belgium.

This facility can carry up to 20 billion cubic metres of gas per year from the UK to continental Europe, and as much as 8.5 billion cubic metres in the opposite direction.

Statoil's Alliance Gas trading and marketing subsidiary in London has leased 250 million cubic metres of annual transport capacity from the Interconnector owners.

Officially confirmed sales contracts totalling eight billion cubic metres per year have so far been secured for the new pipeline.

However, the volume of gas which will actually flow through the facility depends on how much of the contracted amount is nominated by European buyers.

The Interconnector is owned 40 per cent by British Gas, 10 per cent each by Conoco, Gazprom, BP and Elf, and five per cent each by Amerada Hess, Distrigas, National Power and Ruhrgas.

An official inauguration of the new line is planned on 13 October.