Groupement Euro-Algerien des Tuberies (Great)is expected to take nine months to manufacture the 48-inch-diameter steel pipes, which will boost capacity of the pipeline to 27 billion cubic metres a year (cm/y) from 24 billion cm/y at present.

The additional gas volumes will be purchased by Italy’s Enelas part of a contract due to come into effect in 2005.

Great is a joint venture of Alfatusand Pipe Gaz (Ghardaia), local subsidiaries of state-owned steel company Siderand steel tube manufacturer Anabib respectively. Both companies have previously worked on gas transportation projects for Sonatrach, supplying piping for the Haoud el-Hamra-Arzew pipeline and the Beni Mansour-Algiers branch.

A study is under way into the feasibility of building a second subsea pipeline between Algeria and Italy (Oil & Gas, MEED Special Report, 15:3:02).