Norway’s Statnett takes the lead in Scandinavian gas grid
Norwegian transmission grid operator Statnett has enlisted the cooperation of Danish gas transmission company Gastra and Swedish gas transmission grid operator Nova to sound out the possibility of building a Scandinavian gas grid for domestic supply.
“The construction of a national gas grid in Norway may usher in a new era for Europe’s largest gas producer as demand exceeds the capacity of Norwegian hydro-power “ Statnett said the domestic grid would contribute to opening up competition in the Scandinavian market, as well as improve security of energy supply in all three countries.
The option chosen by Statnett, the extension of the existing transmission line that currently runs from Denmark to Sweden, is particularly controversial in Norway because in the initial stages it ignores the possibility — a considerably more expensive one — of a pipeline from Norway’s export infrastructure.
The Scandinavian Gas Ring, as Statnett describes it, is planned in three stages. The first phase is likely to commence soon, while the other two depend entirely on market developments.
1. The first phase will comprise an offshore extension from Gothenburg to Østland south of Norway. The target market will be the major industrial zone of Grenland, where 10,00 people recently demonstrated in favour of gas usage, as well as the greater Oslo area.
2. The second phase is really the development of Norwegian exports to Denmark, and consists of a spur from Europipe II to Nybro on the Danish west coast and will commence when Denmark develops greater demand for gas.
3. The third phase will start when both Sweden and Norway have developed higher demand for gas and will see the Norwegian domestic t r a n s m i s s i o n system expanded from Vestland to Østland, while a
pipeline will be laid from Gothenburg to Stockholm., according to Statnett.
The companies have applied to the European Union for financial assistance in the three-phase project, which would become the backbone for a Scandinavian gas grid built over the coming years.
Following the Norwegian government’s decision to tentatively back CO2 managed gas fired power generation, the construction of a national gas grid in Norway represents the next phase in Norwegian gasification, and may usher in a new era for Europe’s largest gas producer as demand exceeds the capacity of Norwegian hydro-power.
However, only electricity generators and the manufacturing industry are likely to use gas into the medium term, as the use of gas for household purposes will remain beyond the ambit of CO2 management.
While 23% of Denmark’s energy requirements are met by gas, Swedish gas received from Denmark for the west coast from Malmø to Gothenburg accounts for 2% of the energy mix. Norway uses less than 1% of its own gas production domestically. Recent opinion polls have suggested that a large number of Norwegians would welcome gas-fired power generation (see EGM 11.04.1, page 5).
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