UK approves National Grid to build major pipeline

National Grid, operator of the UK's gas network, will build a 196-km, 1,220-mm natural gas pipeline from Felindre, near Swansea in west England to Tirley in Gloucestershire, subject to strict UK environmental conditions.

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, Feb. 15 -- National Grid, operator of the UK's gas network, will build a 196-km, 1,220-mm natural gas pipeline from Felindre, near Swansea in west England to Tirley in Gloucestershire, subject to strict UK environmental conditions. The pipeline is an important component in delivering gas from two proposed LNG regasification terminals in Milford Haven, Wales, which are expected to provide 20% of the UK's gas needs when completed.

National Grid will start line construction in late February or early March. Work should be completed in October. Contractors Nacap Land & Marine Joint Venture will construct a 90-km line section from Felindre to Brecon, and Murphy Pipelines Ltd. will install the 106-km section from Brecon to Tirley.

Local environmental groups had protested the pipeline route, particularly the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority (BBNPA), which objected to a 25.7-km section through the park. Local residents also cited concerns that tourists may be dissuaded from coming because of pipeline's impact.

In announcing approval for the line, Energy Minister Lord Truscott said, "I also have to be mindful of the importance of this project to our national energy needs. As the UK's own reserves of gas decline, there is a need for new infrastructure to connect new sources of imported gas to our homes and industries."

The 4.4 million tonne/year Dragon LNG and the 7 million tonne/year South Hook LNG terminals are under construction in Milford Haven. Dragon is expected to start operations by yearend and South Hook by first quarter 2008.

A BBNPA spokeswoman told OGJ it was disappointed by the UK Department for Trade and Industry's decision to permit National Grid to forge ahead with the pipeline. Now 33.7-km of the pipeline will go through the park. She said BBNPA will appoint two officers to monitor construction and ensure that minimum environmental damage occurs. Under special circumstances, these officers could stop work if they find breaches of environmental regulations.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

More in LNG