The pipeline runs from Gormanston in Co Meath to Ballyclare in Co Antrim, where it ties in with the Bord Gais northwest pipeline from Belfast to Derry city, connecting the gas grids throughout the island.

Firmus energy, a subsidiary of Bord Gais, won the licenses to bring natural gas to towns along the routes of these pipelines. The overall cost of the two transmission pipelines, including spurs to serve nearby towns, was approximately GBP175 million. The provision of a GBP38 million grant from the Northern Ireland Executive was essential to the viability of the two transmission pipelines, of which GBP8.5 million was paid by the Irish government upon completion of the project.

Ed O’Connell, chairman of Bord Gais, said: Northern Ireland is a very important part of the Bord Gais business. Last year, a quarter of all the gas transported by Bord Gais was transported on behalf of gas users in Northern Ireland. Our investment in gas infrastructure in Northern Ireland will be over GBP200 million by 2010, with another GBP50 million earmarked for further investment in the ongoing roll-out of the gas distribution networks in the towns post 2010.

Essential to the development and delivery of these infrastructure projects has been the total co-operation among the major stakeholders in Northern Ireland and the shared vision of bringing gas across the province in a timely and cost-effective manner.