As part of the first phase, the company plans to increase capacity to 16.5 billion cum/yr from 8.5 for flows in the direction of the UK. In the second phase, the company will add another 7 billion cum/yr, bringing total capacity to 23.5 billion cum/yr. This phase is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2006.
The two phases are expected to cost a total of å£150 million, and are underpinned by long-term contracts for capacity until 2018. The expansion project is intended to equalize flows in both directions.
The 235-km long, 40-in diameter, pipeline is currently able to pump 20 billion cum/yr from the Bacton hub in the UK to the Zeebrugge hub in Belgium, and 8.5 billion cum/yr in the opposite direction.
Shippers on the interconnector include Amerada Hess, BG Group, BP, Centrica, ConocoPhillips, Distrigas, Duke Energy, Electricite de France, Eni Spa, Essent NV, Gaz de France, RWE, Innogy, Norsk Hydro, Gazprom, Statoil, Ruhrgas, and Total. Interconnector UK Ltd is owned by ten major energy companies, including many of the shippers that use the pipeline.