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The Commission has cleared an  arrangement between nine leading  European gas
companies for  the construction and operation  of a United Kingdom  - Belgium
subsea gas interconnection.   The connection  will establish  a link  between
the Continental  and UK  gas  markets allowing  for the  movement of  gas  in
either direction.

The  joint venture company, Interconnector (UK)  Limited, will coordinate the
activities of the  constituent companies in the construction and operation of
the  interconnector,  yet  the  marketing and  use  of  the  capacity of  the
pipeline will remain substantially within the  individual companies' control.
Each of  the companies will be free  to use or dispose  of capacity rights to
third parties.

Ownership and capacity will be  shared between the members of the  consortium
in defined proportions.   There are restrictions to enable the members of the
consortium to enjoy  the use  of the  interconnector for  a specified  period
that  allow  adequate  recompense  for  the  expense  of  providing  a  major
infrastructure.

However,  the joint  venture and  the  attendant  arrangements contribute  to
improving the supply of gas in the  European Union and also promote  progress
by contributing to  an economically and technically viable basis on which the
integration of  the UK and  Continental gas markets  can develop.   Consumers
are allowed a  fair share of the resulting  benefit in the form  of increased
choice of supply with resulting competition on price and other terms.

The  companies  involved  are:  Amerada  Hess (United  Kingdom),  BP  (United
Kingdom),  British Gas  (United  Kingdom),  Conoco (U.K.)  (United  Kingdom),
Distrigaz  (Belgium), Elf  (France),  National  Power (United  Kingdom),  RAO
"Gazprom" (Russia) and Ruhrgas (Germany).

On March  25, the  Commission's services  published a  notice with  regard to
this operation and no objections were raised.

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