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Dutch-UK BBL gas pipe to flow 19.2 bcm/yr by 2011

The capacity of the BBL pipeline to transport gas from the Netherlands to Britain will be increased from 16 billion cubic meters (bcm) to about 19.2 bcm a year from the end of 2010, the joint venture said on Tuesday.

BBL is 60% owned by Dutch gas pipeline operator Gasunie, while Germany’s E.ON Ruhrgas own 20% and Belgium’s Fluxys the rest. “BBL Company’s shareholders have taken a positive final investment decision on the BBL pipeline expansion project,” the company said in a statement. “The expansion of transmission capacity will be realised by installing a fourth compressor at the compressor station at Anna Paulowna in the Netherlands.”

The only gas pipeline between Britain and the Netherlands has a maximum transport capacity of 17 million kilowatt per hour, or about 16 bcm a year. Adding another compressor will allow up to 20.60 million KW/hour of gas to be pumped to Bacton in southeast England from December 2010.

Some of the extra capacity that will be available to transport gas from continental Europe to Britain has not yet been contracted. BBL is selling long- and short-term capacity rights on a first come, first served basis, the company said. BBL now has three compressors at its Noord-Holland station but plans to increase flow capacity as Britain’s appetite for import gas increases to make up for declining production from its ageing North Sea fields. (Reuters)