Customers Ask Capacity Expansions In Dutch, German Gas Transport Networks

February 2010 Vol. 237 No. 2

To meet increased demand for gas transport capacity, Gasunie’s transportation grid in the Netherlands and Germany needs to be expanded urgently, the Dutch-based company reported.

In the Netherlands, demand for extra capacity adds up to 7%; in Germany, the Gasunie transport system must be expanded up to 40%. Meeting this demand would probably require investments of 1-2 billion euros in total during 2011-2014. This could also trigger substantial employment in construction activity.

The capacity expansion figures are based on the results of the first integrated open season, recently conducted by Gasunie’s network operators Gas Transport Services B.V. (GTS, the Netherlands) and Gasunie Deutschland. In total, 24 gas supply and trading companies entered into binding capacity agreements with the Gasunie network operators. Of these customers, 12 have requested capacities in both the Dutch and the German Gasunie grid. Customers also required cross-border gas transport connections. Of the customers in the German part of the Gasunie network about 30% are new entrants.

Recent gas market evaluations show robust gas demand in the European Union and a need for more imports. The recent response to the Integrated Open Season underscores these evaluations. Strategically located, the Gasunie grid plays a central role in facilitating liquidity, competition, and in meeting end-user needs.

The required extra capacity is needed to connect new underground gas storages to the grid, to accommodate shifts in gas supply and transit flows due to falling EU production, as well as to enable the increase in cross-border trade and international competition. The integrated open season is considered vital to future security of supply. Of the total amount of new capacity at entry and exit points requested by Gasunie customers, 50% is requested in the Dutch grid and 50% in the German grid.
Gasunie will start technical studies to develop a cost-effective investment program for pipelines and compressor stations. By bundling the capacity requests of customers, Gasunie said it will create an investment plan to maximize economic efficiency and minimize the burden on immediate surroundings.

In the Netherlands, a wide range of pipeline construction activities on the basis of previous open seasons has been ongoing for several years, creating jobs for 15,000 people. New investment projects based on the integrated open season results could lead to similar employment.