Portugal's Transgas plans to expand gas grid

Mar 12, 1997 01:00 AM

Mar. 4, 1997 State gas company Transgas plans to expand its distribution network in central Portugal following the inauguration of the $ 1.88 billion pipeline carrying natural gas from Algeria. "The board of Transgas will propose, at the general assembly of shareholders in March, the inclusion in its medium term plan for 1997/99 of the enlargement of the concession area to the districts of Viseu, Guarda, Castelo Branco and Portalegre,"' according to a company document. The pipeline, inaugurated recently, transports natural gas from Algeria via Morocco and Spain to Portugal. Domestic consumers in Portugal will have to wait some two months before receiving the natural gas due to delays in setting up the regional distribution network. The Transgas general assembly will take place on March 27, the source added. The Transgas document projected that Portugal would receive 2,231 mmcm of natural gas in 1999 and 2,846 mmcm in 2003. Portugal received no natural gas supplies before the construction of the pipeline was completed last November, a Transgas spokesman said. The Transgas document said that Portugal planned to acquire a "complementary supply" of up to 500 mmcm of LNG, via a terminal at Huelva in southern Spain, from 1999. The document also said it was possible that Transgas would acquire from 1998 an emergency supply of natural gas or LNG from a European company of up to 500 mmcm per month. It said that Transgas planned to establish underground reserves of natural gas in the district of Pombal in central Portugal from 1999. The document said that the arrival of the Algerian natural gas in Portugal would diversify energy supplies and provide 10 % of the consumption of primary energy in the country. It would reduce emissions of sulphur dioxide to the atmosphere by 30 % and carbon dioxide by 5 %. The natural gas will reduce prices paid by domestic consumers by between 20 and 65 %, industrial consumers by between three and 40 % and electrical producers by more than 10 %, the document said. The natural gas pipeline will supply the 1,000 MW Tapada power plant being built in northern Portugal, which will generate 20 % of Portugal's electricity after commercial operations start in March 1998.

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