May 4, 2020 / 3:46 PM / a month ago

German gas grids plan expansion to cope with rise in imports

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German gas pipeline companies are holding a public consultation on a 8.5 billion euro ($9.27 billion) 2020-2030 investment plan for gas grid expansion to provide capacity for increased imports, a group of gas network firms said on Monday.

Germany and its neighbours are currently awash with gas as the coronavirus crisis cuts demand, but in the longer term they will need to get more gas via pipelines and via LNG, because supplies from the region’s reserves are dwindling.

The consultation is open until May 29 and is being held publicly because the transport of energy commodities in Germany is paid for by consumers via regulated fees.

The group of gas network companies - known as FNB - is proposing that 1,746 km of new pipelines and compressor capacity of 405 megawatts should be added in the 10-year period.

This includes the Eugal project that is to transport gas from the yet to be completed Nord Stream 2 subsea pipeline, to run onshore from north Germany to the Czech Republic. It also includes provisions for one or two planned liquefied natural gas terminals.

Germany currently receives pipeline gas from Russia via the Czech Republic, Poland and via Nord Stream 1 and most of the rest from North Sea producers, with a small share produced at home.

FNB also called for provisions to supply more gas to the land-locked Baden Wuerttemberg state in Germany’s industrial south-west, where nuclear and older coal plants will close, making this region more reliant on gas-fired plants.

Also, the Netherlands is phasing out production of a low-calorific gas type, meaning north west Europe’s gas transport and consumer infrastructure must change to accommodate more imported gas that is high-calorific.

FNB members include Gascade Gastransport, Ontras Gastransport and Open Grid Europe.

Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Jane Merriman

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