Energy in Europe: new gas transmission connection between France and Belgium inaugurated

Pascal De Buck, CEO of Fluxys Belgium, and Thierry Trouvé, CEO of GRTgaz, inaugurated in Pitgam (Nord) the new gas transmission pipeline connecting France and Belgium. Initiated in 2010, this new link between the two countries is another step towards creating a more integrated gas market in Northwest Europe.

Guaranteeing diversification of supply

France’s gas transmission network in Northern France receives gas imports from Norway in Dunkirk as well as in Taisnières through Belgium. The new Dunkirk LNG terminal, scheduled to be commissioned this summer, required further development of the French and Belgian networks. The new gas transmission link between Pitgam (Nord) and Maldegem (Belgium) opens the first ever route for shippers to transport gas from France to Belgium and thus facilitates access to additional sources for the benefit of consumers. By offering the opportunity to transport up to an extra 8 billion m³ of natural gas per year (one million m³/hour), the new pipeline enhances market integration as well as security of supply and diversification of sources.

An extensive development programme in Northern France for GRTgaz

In France, GRTgaz constructed the ‘Artère des Flandres’ pipeline (23 km) and the metering station at Hondschoote on the French-Belgian border (costing €56 million in total), and reconfigured the Pitgam interconnection station (€30 million). The EU identified the project as a Project of Common Interest in 2013. The construction works began several years ago, got approval by France’s Regulatory Commission of Energy (CRE) and were part of the network development plan of GRTgaz for Northern France that represented a total investment of over €1.2 billion.

Fluxys Belgium’s network now entirely bidirectional

In Belgium, the project involved Fluxys Belgium building the Alveringem regulating station, a new interconnection station at Maldegem and a pipeline stretching nearly 75 km between these two sites for a total investment of approximately €100 million. The new link between Dunkirk and the Zeebrugge area enables gas from the new LNG terminal to be sent to Germany, the Netherlands or the UK, thus offering the terminal’s users the best possible flexibility in choosing their destination markets. The link also makes the Belgian network entirely bidirectional: natural gas can now physically flow in both directions with all neighbouring markets.