THE owner of the Dampier-to- Bunbury natural gas pipeline has announced further expansion plans after receiving additional capacity requests from existing and prospective users of the pipeline. Dampier Bunbury Pipeline plans to spend $700 million on its stage 5B expansion, which will involve installing a further 440 kilometres of parallel pipe (or looping). The annoucnement coincided with the substantial completion of the $660 million stage 5A expansion, which involved 570 kilometres of looping. DBP executive chairman Stuart Hohnen said the new requests totalled about 75 TJ/day of firm full haul capacity and 125 TJ/day of part haul capacity and would be required by shippers from 2010. A final decision to proceed with the larger stage 5B project remains subject to finance and board approval. Mr Hohnen indicated that DBP was encouraged by the increased level of interest being shown by upstream producers in new domestic gas developments. The developers of fields such as Reindeer, Julimar, Macedon, Pluto, Wheatstone and Gorgon have recently expressed interest in supplying the domestic market, creating confidence that further pipeline expansion will be required by 2011-12 when a number of these developments are targeted for completion. DBP is majority owned by DUET Group – with Alcoa and Babcock & Brown Infrastructure as minority owners.