Irish natural gas supplier Bord Gais has confirmed that a further six towns qualify for connection to its natural gas network. The cost of bringing gas to these six towns is approximately E23 million.

The six towns are: Gort and Loughrea in Co. Galway, Ballinrobe in Co. Mayo, Cahir and Cashel in Co. Tipperary and Monasterevin in Co. Kildare.

The announcement follows an approval by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) of the Bord Gais Phase 2 study into the viability of 16 towns, which has just been published. The study evaluated the expected gas demand in the long term in each town and compared it to the cost of extending the gas network to the town. Towns are evaluated on both a standalone basis and as part of a group of towns that are in proximity to each other.

The evaluation was based on the revised gas connections policy, which was proposed by Bord Gais and approved by the CER. The policy revised the criteria by which gas network extensions are evaluated and prompted a study by Bord Gais of the viability of connecting new towns to the gas network. Last year, Phase 1 of the study saw 11 towns along the route of the Mayo-Galway pipeline showing viability. Construction has commenced on this E40 million project, with feeder mains to Castlebar and Westport underway.

Mark Holohan, connections sales manager of Bord Gais, said: Bord Gais will now continue to visit businesses and developers in the six new towns identified as viable to confirm the level of interest in utilizing natural gas. Once the commitment to connecting to gas meets the level of demand required, Bord Gais will develop construction plans to bring gas to the viable towns.