Czech Republic: Preparations for a Gas Crisis
The Czech gas system was preparing for a crisis situation, he said, for restriction or interruption of supply to customers according to consumption levels, according to Jan Zaplatilek, Director, Gas and Liquid Fuels Department, Czech Republic Ministry of Industry and Trade, who provided perspective from the Czech Republic at the Gas Dialogues event Development and Use of Natural Gas in the Danube Region: Prospects and Opportunities, which took place in Budapest, Hungary.
He said, “Today, the Czech Republic and other countries may encounter possible problems about gas transmission through Ukraine in the coming winter.”
Mr. Zaplatilek reported that the Czech TSO was able to make announcements about emergency levels of natural gas on Czech radio, informing all participants on the gas market including state authorities, with varying levels of emergency.
Natural gas, he said, made up about 20% of the energy mix in his country (and was on the increase), 65% of that gas coming from Russia.
In the gas crisis of 2009, he said he was a member of the European Union's negotiating team and had noticed the absence of a metering station on the border between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. “No one knew the exact volume of gas transported through Ukraine,” he explained. “The solution was an international team of observers who monitored the inputs and outputs of Ukraine's gas system.”
The problem, he said, still existed.
“Our common interest is to find a solution, therefore we support all preventive steps making progress in this situation,” he said, offering a similar solution as in 2009.
Mr. Zaplatilek also spoke of interconnector projects in Central & Eastern Europe, the completion of which would result in the Czech gas system having access to LNG terminals in Poland and Croatia.
Pipeline projects between Czech Republic and Austria would also be crucial, he said, connecting the country to the Baumgarten gas hub.
Underground gas storage, he explained, was crucial for his country's security of supply, and the country had eight storages with a total capacity of 3 BCM, while the Czech Republic's consumption ranged 8-9 BCM/annum. Today, he said, the country's storage was at 100% capacity.
Czech Republic was also a traditional gas transit country, he noted, especially from Russian gas being transited from East to West.
“Last year the Gazela pipeline was implemented which transmits Russian gas from North to East,” he explained. “This pipeline, the Opal pipeline, and Nord Stream are all alternatives for Russian natural gas in the Czech gas market.”
According to Mr. Zaplatilek, the Czech transmission system had reverse flow and received relief in 2008-09 during the gas crisis. He commented, “The Czech gas transmission system can utilize gas from East to West, West to East, North to South and from the Czech Republic to Poland, too.”
Drew Leifheit is Natural Gas Europe's new media specialist.