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German TSOs prepare for new Nord Stream natural gas volumes

10 Aug 2012 17:22:11 | esgm

Germany's natural gas transmission system operators (TSOs) have outlined significant demand for additional cross-border capacity with their neighbouring countries.

The companies attached a detailed overview of planned projects, when publishing updated gas demand scenarios for Germany on Friday.

According to the document, the TSOs currently plan extensions of shipping capacity at the Belgian, Danish, French, Dutch, Polish, and Swiss border - many in view of the expected new Russian gas volumes entering Germany from October, when the string of the 55 billion cubic metres (Gm³) Nord Stream pipeline will come on line.

The 27Gm³/year-capacity first string of the Nord Stream pipeline takes Russian gas from Vyborg near the Finnish border to Greifswald on the German coast. The pipeline flowed 6 billion cubic metres (Gm³) of gas between its commissioning on 8 November 2011 and the end of June, according to the operator, Nord Stream AG.

It is not clear how much of the volume was gas displaced from the Ukrainian transit system. Ukraine transits around 70% of all Russian gas exports to Europe.

In June, Gazprom's deputy chairman, Alexander Medvedev, said that all gas in Nord Stream's second string has been contracted and that "there is old gas and there is new gas in the new pipe."

Export capacity

In view of this, WINGAS' transport subsidiary GASCADE plans to add additional exit capacity into Belgium at Eynatten. According to the document, the company considers adding additional export capacity of 1.3GWh/h at the point from 1 January 2014. This would mean an increase by 30%, to 5.6GWh/h, GASCADE data show.

In addition, GASCADE plans to boost export capacity at the Dutch-German border point Bunde from currently 1.33GWh/h to 12.5GWh by 1 November this year.

At the Belgian border, German subsidiary of Belgian TSO Fluxys - Fluxys TENP - considers adding exit capacity of 11GWh/h at Eynatten by 2017, with no final investment decision yet taken. Eynatten is currently only an import point into the TENP pipeline and cannot be used to export gas into Belgium.

At the Danish border, the German subsidiary of Dutch Gas Transport Services - Gasunie Deutschland (GUD) - plans to add exit capacity of 4.7GWh/h into Denmark at the Ellund cross-border point from 2014. Congestion at the Ellund is an issue that has plagued the Danish gas market in recent years (see ESGM 9 January 2012). GUD's plan would boost export capacity into Denmark more than tenfold, according to the TSO's transparency data.

Regarding additional transport capacity at the Polish border, German TSOs ONTRAS and GASCADE are in talks with the Polish TSO GAZ-SYSTEM about adding capacity at Lasow and Mallnow, respectively. The involved TSOs, however, did not provide any details on the possible extensions.

Import capacity

Meanwhile, the TSOs are also envisaging several projects, which would lead to an increase in import capacity. At the French border, new entry capacity amounting to 4GWh/h will probably be available at Medelsheim from 2017, the document shows. Currently, German shippers are not able to import gas from France, as the only cross-border point Medelsheim is an export point only.

On a related note, demand for exporting gas into France appears to be limited, as German TSO Open Grid Europe has recently transferred 0.5GWh/h of capacity from Medelsheim to the Luxembourgish-German point Remich. The new Remich capacity will be sold for the first time through trac-x primary on 14 August.

At the Swiss border, Fluxys TENP considers adding 10.5GWh/h of import capacity into Germany at Wallbach, which is currently an export point only. The first portion - about 2.2GWh - is planned to be made available by 2016, while the rest would follow in 2017. But again, the companies stressed in their document that no final investment decision has yet been taken.

The German TSOs call on market participants to comment on the demand scenarios and planned capacity extension projects by 31 August. Similarly to the view taken in the scenarios prepared last year, gas demand is expected to decline to between 633-800TWh by 2023 from about 851TWh in 2010.

The scenarios are meant to form the basis of investment plans for the expansion of Germany's gas grid development plan 2013. JR

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