Multiple import pipelines: Ensuring security of supply in Europe

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Alex Barnes, Governmental Relations Advisor, Nord Stream 2
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Following the new regulations which came into force November 2017, improving the security of gas supply in Europe has been a hot topic for the national and international industry. To help prevent potential future supply disruptions, this EU legislation creates common standards and indicators.

After the successful Nord Stream gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2 is being built as a new export pipeline running from Russia to Europe and offers another supply of natural gas in Europe.

Ahead of the European Autumn Gas Conference taking place 7-9 November in Berlin, Germany, Gastech Insights spoke with Alex Barnes, Governmental Relations Advisor at Nord Stream 2 and Governing Body Member of the 2018 event.

Gastech Insights: What are the benefits for the EU market with having the choice of both Russian LNG and Russian piped gas?

Alex Barnes: LNG and pipelines are simply two different means of delivering gas to the European market. What will determine the relative quantities of Russian LNG and pipeline gas delivered to the European market will be the price. However as we have seen there is growing demand for LNG elsewhere in the world, and LNG cargoes destined for Europe often go elsewhere. Pipelines give European buyers the ability to continue to source competitive Russian gas when LNG prices are higher and LNG cargoes go to other markets.

Gastech Insights: Where do you see Nord Stream 2 positioned in the European gas market in the next 5 years?

Alex Barnes: Nord Stream 2 is due to be commissioned at the end of 2019. European gas demand is growing again but at the same time, EU indigenous production is declining faster than anticipated because of problems with the Groningen field. LNG demand worldwide is also growing quickly and in 2017 less LNG came to Europe than expected because of increased demand in China. In this context, Nord Stream 2 will provide Europe with access to the additional gas supplies it will need, and enable Gazprom to compete for Europe’s additional gas import demand.  

Gastech Insights: What are the key benefits of gas pipeline infrastructures and how can they be realised in the short and long-term?

Alex Barnes: The benefits are two-fold. Interconnections within Europe and multiple import pipelines to Europe ensure the security of supply. If there is disruption from one source then gas can be obtained from a different source and then flow to wherever it is needed. But this availability of infrastructure in excess of demand levels also aids competition, enabling European buyers to choose the cheapest supplier to meet their needs. To realise these benefits policymakers should encourage private investment in pipelines as the risks are borne by investors, not taxpayers, and ensure the timely implementation of the Projects of Common Interest.

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

Alex Barnes: The EAGC gives industry players an opportunity to catch up on the latest market trends and meet their peers in one place. It’s also a great chance to catch with old friends. 

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 Nord Stream 2