UK-based energy company Independent Oil & Gas (IOG) has announced that the decommissioned Thames Pipeline could be restored to support gas supplies in the North Sea, after completing a successful integrity test.

The oil and gas company, which is based in central London, acquired the Thames Pipeline in April, and said that checks confirmed the pipeline can be used to safely transport gas from North Sea fields to onshore processing facilities.

A pressure test and a tethered pig inspection were carried out on the pipeline, with both showing no signs of internal corrosion or external defects.

The Thames Pipeline is estimated to have a total transport capacity of 550 million cubic feet of gas per day.

According to IOG, the Thames Pipeline could prove to be a very cost-efficient export route for its own fields, and the company could generate additional revenue by charging other firms that wish to use any available spare capacity.

IOG chief executive officer Andrew Hockey said: “Full ownership of this export pipeline with very substantial capacity…gives us real competitive advantage to capture consolidation opportunities in the southern North Sea.”

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“The recommissioning of the Thames Pipeline will breathe new economic life into a part of the North Sea formerly considered to be in terminal decline and help to maximise economic recovery for the UK.”

IOG is planning to make a final investment decision over whether to develop two groups of fields in the southern North Sea, which was postponed recently “to reflect the optimal timing for both fabrication and installation of key infrastructure.”

The decision is expected by the final quarter of 2018. If successful, the company hopes to bring these fields onstream “immediately after the 2019-2020 winter season,” instead of during Q4 2019, which was originally proposed.

Earlier this week, shares in the offshore oil and gas company fell by 9.9% to trade at 31.75p.