Seasonal Flexibility in the Northwest European Gas Market : An Outlook for 2015 and 2020
Seasonal Flexibility in the Northwest European Gas Market : An Outlook for 2015 and 2020. The Hague : Clingendael International Energy Programme, April 2011, 51 p.
Seasonality is a crucial feature of the gas industry. For Northwest Europe, the difference between summer and winter demand is larger for gas than for any other commodity. The ability to meet demand under severely cold weather conditions has been a key success factor in the development of gas markets over the past 50 years.
As a sequel to a discussion paper on the European Market for Seasonal Storage, published by the Clingendael International Energy Programme in 2006, a review of the future need for seasonal flexibility has been prepared. This new review focuses specifically on the operational aspect of security of supply for the Northwest European market and addresses the question:
“Will Northwest Europe have sufficient supply capacity to meet the cumulative demand over a severe winter in 2020?”
The current outlook for the supply of gas in Northwest Europe under serious winter conditions does not give rise to major concerns. For the Baseline Scenario and similar demand scenarios, supply options in addition to those currently under construction will need to be developed, but LNG may also have to play a role as a potential source for seasonal supply. The outlook is not alarming, but at least the additional contribution from the planned expansions and/or planned new storages will need to materialise if the balance is to shift away from possible discomfort in a severe winter. It should be noted, however, that the small seasonal differences in current forward prices for gas do not contribute positively to the investment climate for new storage, even though these only reflect the short-term market conditions and not the longer-term demand.
Under low demand scenarios such as the New Policy Scenario, there appear to be adequate options for winter supplies in a 1-in-20 winter up to 2020, even if further investments beyond those which we have assumed to be committed do not materialise. (© CIEP)