Gas pipeline preferred applicants revealed

Gas pipeline preferred applicants revealed

Two companies have been announced as 'preferred applicants' for licenses to build a new £200m gas pipeline for NI's western counties.

Northern Ireland Energy Holdings and Scotia Gas Networks were named in a consultation paper released by the Utility Regulator.The new pipeline will supply the main towns in the west such as Dungannon, Coalisland, Omagh and Enniskillen with natural gas.Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said that, following on from Wednesday's announcement, she also welcomed the European Commission's clearance for the NI Executive's grant assistance of up to £32.5m to support the licensees in constructing the main pipelines within the project."I am fully committed to encouraging extension of the gas network where this is economically viable. Today's news represents an important stage in the £200 million Gas to the West project."This will offer natural gas to up to 40,000 business and domestic consumers in the West."The DUP minister said: "As the cleanest burning fossil fuel, natural gas offers a greener, more efficient and convenient alternative to oil and coal. It will help to lower manufacturing and production costs for companies and improve business competitiveness."In addition, it will provide domestic consumers with greater choice and benefits such as easier budgeting of energy costs by opting for a gas pre-payment meter."Mrs Foster said that once the Utility Regulator's competition is complete, she looks forward to the formal award of the new gas conveyance licences which will allow the developers to obtain planning."I hope to see the start of works on the ground to provide the new gas networks as soon as possible." CHAR(13) + CHAR(10)

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