The Great German Gas Switch-Over

Germany is at the beginning of a 7 billion euro gas infrastructure project to switch 30% of its gas customers from low-calorie Group L to  high calorie Group H natural gas.  For technical reasons, and under weights-and-measures regulations, the two gas qualities have to be transported in separate systems within defined ranges, and customers cannot switch from one to the other unless their gas appliances are adjusted.  Due for completion by 2030, 57 German utilities will convert  the gas appliances of 5 million households, as well as all  industrial and biogas plants and gas-fired power stations to Group H natural gas in the two regions.  

The current gas pipeline network is over 530,000 km in length and the transmission network of 40,000 km delivers 80.5 billion cubic metres (bcm)  a year, reports Eurostat. The country’s long-distance gas  pipeline  network  is operated by 15 transmission system operators (TSO)  and the local networks by some 700 regional distribution network operators (DSO).  Pipeline operators will themselves be working to ensure integration of these two L gas areas with the existing H-grid.  Germany’s Transmission System Operator (TSO) Association FNB Gas (Vereinigung der Fernleitungsnetzbetreiber Gas) has put together a pipeline conversion plan known as the Gas Network Development Plan (NDP) 2018 to 2028. Once complete, all retail and wholesale gas customers including utilities will have full access to the most commonly traded gas in the European Single Market.  According to the Federal Network Agency, the regulatory office for electricity, gas, telecommunications, post and railway markets, this is Germany’s “biggest infrastructure project for gas supply.”

This switch is necessary, due to the seminal decline in supplies of Group L gas from Lower Saxony and Dutch gas to German customers. The rest of the German market is  already supplied with high calorific value quality gas imported from Denmark, Norway/north Sea, Russia and LNG terminals such as GATE in Rotterdam and Fluxys at Zeebrugger.  Read more https://pgjonline.com/magazine/2018/april-2018-vol245-no4/features/the-great-german-gas-switch-over

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