LNG & pipeline gas: Bringing a higher security of supply to the EU

Ludger Hümbs's picture
Ludger Hümbs, Head of Market Area Management and Business Development, Gascade
Comments: 0

Located at the heart of Europe and an important hub for the European natural gas transport system, Gascade’s natural gas pipeline grid is approximately 2,4000 kilometres long and links customers and suppliers across Germany.

Keen to hear more about the EUGAL pipeline and the future flows of energy, Gastech Insights spoke with EAGC 2018 Governing Body Member and Head of Market Area Management and Business Development at Gascade, Ludger Hümbs.

Gastech Insights: As more LNG comes into the EU, what does this mean for pipeline gas?

Ludger Hümbs: Forecasts indicate an additional need for gas imports in Europe for the next 20 years as indigenous production goes down and demand almost remains at the current level at the same time.

Sufficient capacities for LNG regasification and pipeline gas are substantial for Europe. There are significant LNG and pipeline capacities existing especially in North-West Europe and extension are supportive to keep competition and security of supply on a good level. Measures in the course of the project Nord Stream 2 make it possible to supply East and Southeast Europe with LNG. In general more sources of gas lead to higher competition what results in a higher security of supply.

Gastech Insights: The construction for the first string of the EUGAL pipeline is set to start this year, could you tell us more about the project and what it means for Europe?

Ludger Hümbs: In summer 2015 we conducted together with TSO partners (Gasunie Deutschland (GUD), FLUXYS Deutschland (FLUXYS-D), Ontras Gastransport (Ontras) and NEL Gastransport (NEL)) a European market survey on the demand for gas transport in the GASPOOL market area for the next 25 years. Based on the results of the market survey we offered respective capacities to the market during the annual auction on the PRISMA platform in March 2017 with the result that capacities were booked until 2040.

The EUGAL project resulted from this process. Currently, we are in the planning approval process and develop on schedule. GUD, FLUXYS-D and Ontras became co-owners of EUGAL from October 2017.

EUGAL will be linked to the European natural gas infrastructure and lead to higher source competition, security of supply and to an improvement of the European internal market.

Gastech Insights: With Germany leading the way in achieving the energy goals, what do you expect the energy landscape to look like in the country in the next 10 years?

Ludger HümbsThe German Government which was formed this year developed a new coalition agreement wherein goals for the energy policy in Germany are defined. Key elements of the coalition agreement are the use of renewable energies with a share of 65% until 2030, the exit from coal-fired power generation and the creation of a framework for sector coupling.

With pursuing these targets, renewable energies will become increasingly important for Germany. Gas will support the energy system based on renewables as a backup technology – especially for times when renewables cannot serve the market to full extent. Forecasts show that gas demand for Germany will go down over the next 20 years with a simultaneously declining indigenous production so that the need for gas imports remains for the future – the same trend as can be observed for Europe (source TYNDP 2017).In the coalition contract of the new German Government, it`s agreed that a committee will develop a plan for a step-by-step exit of coal. Consequently, this will lead to an additional need for gas.

Gastech Insights: As Europe begins to look at alternative energy options, what do you see for the future of natural gas infrastructure?

Ludger Hümbs: As energy from renewables will be mainly electricity it has to be recognized that there are big advantages for the use of the gas infrastructure for Green Gas. First, the gas infrastructure is the only known technology that has the indispensable ability of long-term storage for huge amounts of energy today. Second, it offers a sustainable way to make the energy transition in the heating and mobility sector economically happen. New technologies like Power to Gas and the injection of hydrogen into the gas infrastructure will be developed in the future and more and more usable. Large-scale gas facilities will be developed. Gas provides higher flexibility, better energy system resilience, more acceptance of end users and lots of potentials that will be needed.

Gastech Insights: Why should industry players attend the 2018 European Autumn Gas Conference?

Ludger Hümbs: The EAGC is one of the main gas conferences in Europe and has been for decades, always attended by the important players of the industry. In 2018 the EAGC will set a strong focus on challenges for the business due to decarbonization and CO2 reduction targets and on concepts how to accept such challenges. Furthermore, spotlights will be set in current projects and developments in the industry. There are many good reasons to participate and I look forward to seeing everyone there. 

If you would like to hear more on innovation within Europe's gas market by top industry experts and leaders, register for the European Autumn Gas Conference, 7-9 November in Berlin. 

Image courtesy of Gascade