£32.5m gas contract awards this year

THE award of the first of £32.5million worth of gas contracts that will see the natural gas network extended to Strabane and other towns in the west will take place at the end of this year

Investment Minister Arlene Foster said construction should begin in 2015.

She referred to the Executive’s approval last month of £32.5m in financial support for the extension of the natural gas network to Strabane, Omagh, Dungannon, Cookstown, Magherafelt and Enniskillen.

“The Utility Regulator is planning to launch a public consultation exercise in early 2013 on the proposed method for conducting a competition for new gas licences in the West and North West area, with the award of new licences anticipated around the end of 2013,” she stated.

“I hope to see construction of the new gas transmission infrastructure commenced by the end of 2015 with the first customer connections shortly thereafter.

“However I recognise that this timetable will be very challenging, as the new licensee will have to complete detailed scheme design, and obtain other approvals including planning consent, in advance of any construction works commencing,” she added