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Gas to the West moves a step closer

04 Mar, 2015

The prospect of bringing gas to up to 40,000 new customers in the west of Northern Ireland moved closer today. At a launch in Enniskillen it was announced that two companies, Mutual Energy and SGN, have now been awarded conveyance licences to extend the natural gas network. 

Jenny Pyper, Chief Executive of the Utility Regulator, which ran the competition to award the licenses, said: 

“We are delighted to have reached this stage and I congratulate Mutual Energy and SGN on being awarded the licenses to bring gas to the west of Northern Ireland. Natural gas provides an affordable, cleaner and convenient form of energy and this is a further vote of confidence in the natural gas industry. It is also a welcome new investment in our energy infrastructure. We look forward to work commencing as soon as possible so that natural gas can start flowing to customers.” 

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster, attended the launch and said: “The Northern Ireland Executive is supporting the Gas to the West project with grant assistance of up to £32.5m. With natural gas being the cleanest burning fossil fuel, extending the gas network will help us achieve our greenhouse gas emissions target. 

“The event today offers an opportunity for people to gain more information on the project. I look forward to the developers moving to the next stages of detailed design, planning permission and other approvals in advance of construction work commencing.” 

Paddy Larkin, Chief Executive, Mutual Energy said: “Together with SGN,we’d like to thank the Minister, her department and the Utility Regulator for their commitment and hard work in bringing us to this important milestone in the Gas to the West project. We look forward to continuing to work with them, and all the other key stakeholders involved in the project to make Gas to the West a reality. 

“We already have an experienced and dedicated project team in place and look forward to moving toward the next phase of the project so we can start delivering the benefits of natural gas to homes and businesses in this part of Northern Ireland.” 

SGN’s Chief Executive John Morea said: 

“We are delighted to be partnering Mutual Energy in this prestigious project extending the significant benefits of natural gas availability to thousands of homes and businesses in the west of Northern Ireland. Our focus is now firmly on building a modern natural gas network and providing the infrastructure to safely transport and deliver gas to these communities. 

“We have a strong reputation for operational excellence in both safety and delivery of infrastructure projects and we look forward to working closely with our partners and all stakeholders concerned on this exciting project.” 

Work will begin in mid 2015 and continue into 2017, with the first connections expected in 2016. 

ENDS 

For further information, please contact Adele Boyle on 028 9031 6664 or 07787 279584. 

Notes to editor 

The Utility Regulator is the independent non-ministerial government department responsible for regulating the electricity and gas industries and water and sewerage services in Northern Ireland. 

Gas to the West will see upwards of £200m invested in a new gas pipeline to the west of Northern Ireland. The pipeline will allow up to 40,000 new customer connections and has the potential to generate an additional £200 million of economic benefits, from energy savings and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. 

The project will bring gas to the towns of Strabane, Omagh, Enniskillen, Derrylin, Dungannon, Coalisland, Cookstown and Magherafelt. Other areas are yet to be finalised. 

A dedicated Gas to the West website will be available from 4 March 2015 where further information on the project, including footage of previous gas extensions, is available: gastothewest.com 

SGN notes 

SGN Ltd is the second largest gas network company in the UK, with over 74,000km of gas mains and services across Scotland and southern England. Whoever their supplier is, we have a responsibility to deliver gas safely, reliably and efficiently to every one of our 5.8 million customers. Our promises to our customers shape who we are; They ensure we employ the highest safety standards, strive for the best levels of service and put customers at the centre of everything we do. We also look to do all our work in ways which causes minimum impact on our environment and the communities we serve. In Northern Ireland SGN was already contracted to carry out the maintenance on the gas transmission system and on the above-ground transmission assets. In addition it currently maintains the assets for the gas pipeline connection between Northern Ireland and Scotland. 

Mutual Energy notes 

Mutual Energy owns and operates key energy infrastructure assets in Northern Ireland under the mutual model. This means the company does not have any shareholders and that all benefits, including cost savings, are returned to Northern Ireland energy consumers. Mutual Energy will own and operate the transmission (high pressure) pipeline which will be constructed by SGN.