Gasunie and Fluxys look into cooperationBrussels/Groningen | press release
Gas infrastructure companies Gasunie (the Netherlands) and Fluxys (Belgium) are exploring the possibilities for cross-border cooperation. The CEOs of both companies, Walter Peeraer (Fluxys) and Paul van Gelder (Gasunie), have signed a joint declaration of intent to that effect today. This took place near Zelzate on the Belgian-Dutch border, on board the Jacob van Artevelde, a boat from the Port Authority of Ghent.
The companies are primarily investigating the development of cross-border services. This approach aims to stimulate the free movement of natural gas and to improve gas market operations, two central objectives of European energy policy.
Cooperation between the two gas infrastructure companies will provide a good opportunity for both countries to strengthen their current favourable positions in the globalising energy market and to take advantage of changes to gas flows. In order to meet declining European production with supplies from other sources, investments in new infrastructure are necessary in areas such as North West Europe to keep security of supply and market operations at suitable levels.
Natural gas will continue to fulfil a crucial role in the European energy mix over the coming decades. Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel (it produces 50% less CO2 and hardly any fine particles compared to coal), while natural gas technology can provide significant advantages in areas of energy efficiency. For these reasons natural gas is the 'trump card' of electricity production, domestic heating and fuel for vehicles. Moreover, natural gas power stations can be used flexibly for electricity production, meaning that fluctuating supplies of solar and wind energy can be effectively cushioned. The way in which it benefits the environment and underpins renewable sources gives natural gas an essential role in a sustainable and affordable energy supply.
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Fluxys is the independent operator of the natural gas transmission and storage infrastructure in Belgium. Through its subsidiary Fluxys LNG the company also operates the Zeebrugge liquefied natural gas terminal. Driven by its first mover approach Fluxys has developed its infrastructure into a central crossroads for international gas flows in North-Western Europe.
The Zeebrugge area plays a key role in Fluxys’ crossroads function for international gas flows in North-Western Europe: the infrastructure in the area has a throughput capacity of some 48 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year, approximately 10% of the border capacity needed for Europe's natural gas supply.
With 18 interconnection points to neighbouring grids and systems the Fluxys network is tied in to all natural gas sources available to the European market:
- pipeline supply from Norway, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and Russia,
- worldwide LNG supply through the Zeebrugge LNG terminal offering 110 berthing slots per year for unloading or loading, and a throughput capacity of 9 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year.
Any LNG or pipe gas brought into the Fluxys network can either be shipped into the Belgian market or redelivered at the border for onward transmission into the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, France and further to Southern Europe. Transport for delivery into the Belgian market amounts to 19 billion cubic metres per year. As for border-to-border transit, shippers have booked long-term capacity at roughly 80 billion cubic metres per year for existing infrastructure and over 15 billion cubic metres per year for infrastructure to be built or under construction.
Gasunie is a European gas infrastructure company. The Gasunie network ranks among the largest high pressure gas pipeline grids in Europe, consisting of over 15,000 kilometres of pipeline in the Netherlands and northern Germany, dozens of installations and approximately 1,300 gas receiving stations. The annual gas throughput totals approximately 125 billion cubic metres. We serve the public interest in the markets in which we are active and work to create optimum value for our stakeholders. We are the first independent gas transport provider with a cross-border network in Europe.
Gasunie offers transport services via its subsidiaries Gas Transport Services B.V. (GTS) in the Netherlands and Gasunie Deutschland Transport Services GmbH in Germany.
We also offer other services in the gas infrastructure field, including gas storage and LNG. We consider the wishes of our customers to be of prime importance.
We aim for the highest standards in safety, reliability, efficiency and sustainability. Due to the reliability and strategic location of the Gasunie network in relation to expanding international gas flows, the Gasunie network forms the core of what is called the northwest European 'gas roundabout'.
Gas plays a crucial role in the energy mix of the future and in achieving CO2 emission targets. Under combustion, natural gas produces half the amount of CO2 that coal produces, for example, and worldwide reserves of natural gas are also plentiful. Natural gas is also highly flexible in its use, making it eminently suitable for absorbing the fluctuating supply of solar and wind energy. This support makes an increase in the sustainable energy supply possible, while simultaneously ensuring that the stability of the energy supply is maintained at all times. Natural gas can also be mixed with sustainable, certified green gas made from organic waste. Because the Netherlands already has a far-reaching natural gas transport network, green gas can easily be added to the natural gas supply and be delivered across the country. The share of green gas in the Dutch gas supply in 2020 may be as much as 5%, the equivalent of the gas consumption of more than 1 million households.