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    Gasunie Sees Profits Up Despite Drop in Throughput


The Dutch TSO has tightened its belt and has made progress with the government's green energy transition.

by: William Powell

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Gasunie Sees Profits Up Despite Drop in Throughput

Dutch state transmission system operator Gasunie reported February 27 a small rise in annual revenues, despite a drop on throughput, rising from €1.251bn in 2018 to €1.278bn in 2019. But profits were up by a quarter, at €412mn, of which the state is to receive €288mn as dividends. Operating costs were €138mn lower than in 2018, consisting of €98mn in one-off cost reductions, and a structural cost reduction of €40mn.

Gasunie transported 113.2bn m³ of gas last year, down 2.6% despite the higher volumes of LNG deliveries. “Because there were fewer cold days in 2019, less gas was transported through the Dutch network than during the previous year,” it said. 

Gasunie has other businesses as well as gas transport: it has been developing nitrogen injection to create substitute gas for the low-calorie Groningen gas field, to ensure the field can be phased out as quickly as possible. “It is expected that gas extraction can be reduced to zero in 2022 as a result,” it said. That is at least seven years before its Groningen gas export contracts expire.

Last year it converted 29bn m³ of high-calorie gas, similar to 2018’s 28.9bn m³, and using all the available nitrogen injection capacity.

The Gate LNG terminal took almost three times more LNG last year than in 2018, as 7.3bn m³ of pipeline-equivalent gas arrived from overseas. “Now that north-western Europe has changed from being a producer to an importer of natural gas, the importance of good infrastructure for the transport and storage of natural gas for the security of supply has increased. The proposed construction of an LNG terminal in Germany will increase our ability to use gas from many sources in north-western Europe,” it said. 

Gasunie is also working on developing alternative gases for energy transmission. “Gasunie can connect hydrogen from various providers and transport it to the large industrial clusters in the Netherlands. This network's capacity can increase to 10-15 GW by 2030. Parts of the national grid can be made suitable for the future transport of hydrogen relatively easily. We are developing a number of projects with partners in the Eemshaven, North Sea Canal, Rotterdam, Zeeland and Limburg industrial clusters,” it said.

Gasunie is also planning, at the state’s direction, to construct the WarmtelinQ project, an underground main transport pipeline that will allow residual heat from the port of Rotterdam to be used to replace natural gas in domestic homes, businesses and greenhouses in the Rotterdam/The Hague region. It expects to take a final investment decision this year, with operations starting in 2023.

Slow progress is being made on green gas: the national goal is to produce and supply just 2bn m³ by 2030, as laid down in the Climate Agreement. But Gasunie has been working on a demo installation in Alkmaar where wet biomass such as manure and sewage sludge can be gasified into green gas and hydrogen. “In the fourth quarter of 2019, the entire supply chain from biomass feed-in up to and including gas generation was activated for the first time. This allowed a small quality of gas to be fed into the GTS network. This was a first for the high-pressure generation of bio syngas at this scale,” it said.