European Investment Bank will lend £250m to improve liquid gas network

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is to lend £250m to upgrade UK gas distribution networks operated by Scotland Gas Networks and Southern Gas Networks, the EIB said yesterday.

The two companies, wholly owned by Scotia Gas Networks, will get £150m and £100m respectively to replace old pipes and lay new pipelines.

The three-year upgrade programme will run to 2013, helping connect remote parts of Scotland, while also catering for higher capacity requirements at peak times.

“This project complements EIB financing of LNG storage facilities at key UK facilities,” said Simon Brooks, EIB vice president responsible for the United Kingdom.

The EIB – the long-term lending arm of the European Union – said the grid upgrades should ensure the maintenance of a safe and reliable service for existing customers, as well as catering for increased gas storage and peak supply requirements.

Britain is becoming increasingly reliant on imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) being brought into southern England and Wales and pumped around a gas network which was largely designed to handle gas from the UK’s own North Sea fields.