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German gas demand could fall by one-fourth by 2022 – TSO

07 Nov 2011 17:45:34 | esgm

According to three scenarios for future natural gas demand in Germany prepared for transmission system operators (TSOs), Germany's gas demand will decline to between 620716TWh by 2022 from 826TWh in 2009.

The scenarios, prepared by research company Prognos, are meant to form the basis of investment plans for the expansion of Germany's gas grid between 20132022.

The 12 German TSOs invited Prognos to produce different scenarios. Market participants had a deadline of 9 September to comment on the scenarios, and the TSOs have evaluated and published the submitted statements.

Market participants have widely criticised previously released future gas demand scenarios, saying they had underestimated demand. As a consequence of 19 submitted comments on the subject, the TSOs have amended their scenarios slightly, according to a spokesperson.

The Prognos gas demand outlook touches on several aspects of the German gas grid and the development of demand in sectors such as industry and heating systems.

Even the scenario that forecasts the smallest decrease in demand to 2022 was criticised by market participants. Statoil said that the outlook for gas demand in the scenarios is always significantly lower than the outlook of most companies and authorities, and that Statoil itself estimates a higher demand. Energy company Wingas estimates that the gas demand in Germany will not decrease, but remain stable in the coming years.

Wingas also emphasised that the assumptions for rising efficiency of gas-fired power plants in the scenarios were rather optimistic. Since there is still little incentive for market participants to invest in gas-fired power plants, Wingas said that Prognos overestimates the use of gas in that field. Furthermore, Wingas concludes that Prognos's assumptions do not consider all peculiarities of the German market and that a grid expansion plan based on these assumptions could lead to a lack of investment.

The TSOs said that only small adjustments were made to demand scenarios that attracted the heaviest criticism from market participants.

Details of the scenarios will not be made public until German regulator Bundesnetzagentur gives the go-ahead. This approval will be the next step for the development of the gas grid expansion. According to a Bundesnetzagentur, the actual approval might take until the end of November.

Theoretically, the regulator also could withhold approval until the TSOs submit final changes to the scenarios. The deadline for completion of the gas grid expansion plan is 1 April 2012. MH

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