Gas Pipeline: What comes around goes around

Today will see the end of the project to build a gas pipeline though South Wales.

It has not had an easy ride. It has met with a great deal of protest along the way, and as it nears completion, it is meeting more opposition at the English end too.

For me this all feels a bit like ‘deja vu’ .

In the sixties , my father was involved in the construction of the massive North Sea Gas network of pipelines which wended their way all around Wales.

Talk over the dinner table involved a lot of ‘wayleaves’, and ‘compensation offers’, and also ‘backfill’ and ‘land restoration’, not to mention the occasional ‘pig’ .

Dad was very keen that full photographic records were kept of ‘before, during and after’, and he was very proud of the fact that they met with very little opposition. He felt that on the whole this could be put down to careful negotiations with each individual landowner. They all do get compensation payments, you know!

Some thirty five years on, I doubt if anyone could point out where the pipes were buried underground….. so I feel that the current protesters might be pleasantly surprised be how well the scarred countryside will quickly recover.

Once he had finished pipelining Wales, he began the task of converting every home in the country to North Sea Gas in the early seventies. Monday mornings were “C Day” (C = conversion) in a different town or region each week. Every household was visited by a fitter and every gas-powered household item had the be individually modified. It was an enormous task.

Dad was aways on site each Monday, in time for the start, often leaving home around midnight to drive to the designated town awaiting its conversion.

After it was completed and everybody was able to enjoy the benefits of the new gas supply, my Dad was awarded the M.B.E. for his services to the Gas Industry.

How quickly time passes and things around us change! The North Sea Gas has dwindled and all but run out. I am sure that my father would never have believed that this could have happened so soon.

The new gas pipeline will carry Liquified Natural Gas which will be shipped via the the much expanded port of Milford Haven from the Middle east.

So we must look forward to the future and hope that this project eventually serves the people well and does not run out too soon.

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