Lloyd's Register Espana S.A. has been awarded the contract for provision of inspection and certification services for the prestigious Medgaz gas pipeline project.

The 210km sub-sea pipeline, from Algeria to Spain, is due for completion in mid-2009 and will help meet increasing demand for energy in Europe by delivering up to 8 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. The provision of this clean-burning gas, as an alternative to more polluting fuels, means the project will make a positive contribution towards targets set out in the Kyoto Protocol.

The development of the pipeline will play an important part in ensuring a stable, secure and high-quality energy supply is available for the European market. It will also offer a more cost-effective method of energy transportation to the continent, as it is the shortest and most direct link between Algeria and the south of Europe.

Lloyd's Register Espana S.A., supported by Lloyd's Register EMEA, will provide services including vendor works inspection for the pipeline and equipment and certification for the on and offshore pipe lay. Certification will also be carried out for the construction of the compressor station on the Algerian coast in Beni Saf and receiving terminal in Almeria, Spain.

Medgaz said "We will comply with the tightest international standards in all environmental, safety and health related aspects and have no doubt that Lloyd's Register Espana, S.A., and Lloyd's Register EMEA, will fulfill their commitment to the project in an efficient and professional manner."

The Lloyd's Register Group is an independent risk management organization that works to help to improve its clients' quality, safety, environmental and business performance throughout the world, because life matters. Its expertise and activities cover railways, shipping, oil and gas, and other asset-based industries. The Group comprises charities and non-charitable companies, with the latter supporting the charities in their public benefit goals.

Although the idea of building a direct gas pipeline between Algeria and Europe arose in the 1970s, the technical limitations at that time prevented the construction and operation of an ultra deepwater gas pipeline. Thirty years later, these limitations were overcome and February 2001, the Sociedad para el Estudio y Promocion del Gasoducto Argelia-Europa, via Espana S.A. (Company to Study and Build the Algerian-European Gas Pipeline via Spain, S.A.), or Medgaz, was founded. Several leading global energy companies expressed interest in joining the project, which is now a consortium made up by Sonatrach, CEPSA, Iberdrola, Endesa and Gaz de France; all of which have a long and proven track record in the gas business and are renowned worldwide for their technical expertise and financial strength.