Czech Nord Stream natural gas link Gazela flowing at full capacity
The Gazela natural gas pipeline, which links Nord Stream's onshore extension OPAL with southern Germany, intersecting the Czech Republic, is flowing at almost 100% of its 90 million cubic metre/day capacity, Radek Bencik, managing director of Czech transmission system operator (TSO) NET4GAS, said on Tuesday.
He told ICIS at a Prague conference, devoted to the Czech and Slovak natural gas industry, that gas flowing via the Gazela pipe mostly comes from Nord Stream and flows from OPAL to another Nord Stream link, MEGAL.
Gazela has two connections points with the main Czech transit route that takes Russian gas coming via Ukraine and Slovakia further to Europe, as well as the Czech network, which makes it possible in theory for some of that gas to also enter Gazela. Gazela is exempt from third-party access requirements.
NET4GAS opened the 30 billion cubic metre/year capacity pipeline in January (see ESGM 15 January 2013).
The 166km Gazela route runs from Hora Svate Kateriny, on the Czech Republic's northwest border with Germany, re-entering Germany in the south at Waidhaus. At its northernmost point, it will link up with German TSO OPAL-NEL Transport's transit grid, which carries Nord Stream gas from Greifswald on the Baltic coast.
Gazela will also connect to the MEGAL transit network, taking gas to south Germany and France, adding an additional path for gas transit.
The pipeline is connected with the Czech Republic's existing long-distance gas network at Brandov, Jirkov, Svinomazy and Primda. From these offtake points, it will be possible to connect to the Czech national grid. NET4GAS had previously said that it was interested in utilising these exit points, although no contracts have yet been signed with companies. Katya Zapletnyuk
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