Dutch-UK Balgzand-Bacton gas line starts

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, Dec. 4 -- The new Balgzand-Bacton pipeline has begun commercial delivery of natural gas from the Netherlands to the UK.

The 235-km, 36-in. pipeline works at a pressure of 135 atm. Around 230 km of the pipeline is offshore under the North Sea. It will have a capacity of 15 billion cu m (bcm)/year when a remotely operated electrical compressor station enters service in January in Anna Paulowna, Noord Holland.

"In the Netherlands the pipeline was pulled through the dunes using a horizontal directional drilling technique to cause less damage to the environment," a BBL spokesman told OGJ.

The spokesman said BBL has received "a lot of interest" in an open season for pipeline capacity, which it will offer monthly.

BBL is a joint venture of E.ON Ruhrgas, Fluxys, and NV Nederlandse Gasunie.

The Balgzand-Bacton pipeline is the third major gas transport project serving the UK to start up this winter. The 600-km southern leg of the 1,200-km Langeled pipeline from Norway delivered first gas to the UK in October (OGJ, Oct. 23, 2006, p. 34). And an expansion of the Interconnector pipeline between the Netherlands and the UK came on stream the same month, increasing capacity by 7 bcm/year to 23.5 bcm/year.

The UK is expecting new LNG supplies to be delivered to Teeside via the Excelerate project early in 2007. The South Hook LNG and Dragon LNG terminals in south Wales are expected to become operational by late 2007.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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