DTI Welcomes First Gas from Bacton-Balgzand Pipeline

Gas will flow for the first Friday] through a new pipeline under the North Sea that connects the UK to the Netherlands.

The Bacton-Balgzand pipeline (BBL) will supply 8% of the UK's gas needs and is the third new piece of infrastructure to come onstream this winter. It will increase energy security and add a further downward pressure on energy prices, states the UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Welcoming the opening of the new pipeline, Alistair Darling, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry said:

"A further step to secure Britain's energy supplies is put in place today. Travelling more than 230km under the North Sea, today sees BBL delivering commercial gas supplies from the Dutch continental shelf through to homes and businesses across the UK. It will account for some 8% of the UK's annual gas needs and is a feat of considerable engineering achievement. This increases our security of energy supply."

Lord Truscott, Parliamentary Under Secretary, was in Bacton Friday to mark the opening of the pipeline. Speaking in advance of the visit, he said:

"Gas is now flowing this winter through three pipelines. BBL and the new Langeled pipeline from Norway join the existing Belgian Interconnector and liquefied natural gas brought into the Isle of Grain on the Thames estuary. Next year there'll be additional imports of liquefied natural gas into Teesside and later Milford Haven in South West Wales, contributing to a healthy diversity of supply."

The BBL's construction of the pipeline was facilitated by a treaty signed by both the UK and Dutch governments in 2005. The overall length of the pipeline is 235 km of which 230 km is offshore. It is a 36 inch pipeline and has a working pressure of 135atm.

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