The Unified Gas Supply System (UGSS) of Russia:
- 168.3 thousand km of gas trunklines and branches
- 222 pipeline compressor stations with 43.9 mln kW in capacity
- 25 underground gas storage facilities
Natural gas produced in Russia is pumped into gas trunklines integrated within the Unified Gas Supply System (UGSS) of Russia. The UGSS is the largest gas transmission system in the world and it is a unique complex of gas extraction, processing, transmission, storage and distribution facilities. The UGSS provides for a continuous cycle of gas supply from the wellhead to the end user.
Owing to centralized management, considerable ramification and parallel transmission routes, the UGSS has a substantial reliability margin and is capable of uninterrupted gas supplies even during seasonal peak load periods. The UGSS is 168.3 thousand km long.
222 compressor stations with gas compressor units totaling nearly 43.9 million kW in capacity are used for gas transmission. The Unified Gas Supply System of Russia is owned by Gazprom. The year 2012 saw the commissioning of 3.2 thousand km of gas trunklines and branches.
In the 1970s and 1980s, when the gas transmission system was built, Gazprom provided it with a substantial reliability margin. Sustainable operation of gas mains is secured through innovative inspection techniques, preventive maintenance and repair.
In 2012 Gazprom allocated RUB 23.6 billion for upgrading and retrofitting the gas transmission system. As a result of repair and technical condition improvement, the number of gas pipeline breakdowns was reduced twice – to 16 versus 2002 (32 breakdowns). Fewer breakdowns stem directly from the use of progressive gas transmission system inspection techniques and scheduled preventive maintenance operations, which enable efficient detection of worn out sections and obsolete equipment.
The Unified Gas Supply System is almost fully loaded. For instance, in 2012 a total of 666.2 billion m3 was pumped into the UGSS, taking account of natural gas supplied by Gazprom, independent and Central Asian producers.
According to the existing forecasts, gas consumption in the global markets will rise. For example, the Russian Energy Strategy until 2030 envisages that 803 to 837 billion m3 of gas will be produced domestically by 2020 and 885 to 940 billion m3 – by 2030. Consequently, the UGSS throughput capacity is to be increased in order to meet the solvent demand of domestic consumers and Russia’s international obligations in relation to natural gas supply.
No, it is not. Gazprom satisfies all the requests by independent gas producers seeking access to the Unified Gas Supply System (UGSS), unless it cannot be granted for purely technical reasons. The main reason is the limited capacity of the gas transmission system. The interaction between Gazprom and other gas market players is fully in line with the Federal Law on Gas Supply in the Russian Federation, which sets the terms and conditions for granting access to free transmission capacity of the UGSS as well as entitles Gazprom to conclude supply contracts or reasonably deny access. Gazprom grants independent gas producers access to the gas transmission system in case:
The requirements for gas funneled into the system, and the terms and conditions of access to gas mains are governed by law. In order to simplify access to its gas transmission system, Gazprom improves the Regulation on preparation and issuance of permits for independent entities seeking access to the gas transmission system of OAO Gazprom. OAO Gazprom first opened up its gas transmission system for independent gas producers in 1998.
In 2012 Gazprom rendered gas transmission services to 25 companies (in 2011 – 26 companies), not forming a part of Gazprom Group. In 2012 the share of independent producers in the gas transmission system of Gazprom grew to 86.5 billion m3 (versus 72.8 billion m3 in 2011).
For independent producers, the rate of gas transmission via the trunklines of OAO Gazprom is set by the Russian Federal Tariff Service (FTS). Before August 1, 2006 a single rate was set for transmission of 1,000 m3 per 100 km. Since August 1, 2006 a new differentiated rate setting methodology has been used, when the rate consists of two components: a charge for conveying 1,000 m3 per 100 km and a charge for using gas mains (RUB per 1,000 m3), which is determined depending on gas entry and exit points in the gas transmission system.
Underground gas storage (UGS) facilities are an integral part of the Unified Gas Supply System of Russia and are situated in the key gas consumption regions. UGS facilities help smooth out seasonal fluctuations of gas demand, reduce peak loads in the UGSS and provide better flexibility and reliability of gas supply. The network of UGS facilities supplies Russian consumers with up to 20% of overall gas volumes during a heating season and up to 30% during sharp cold spells. There are 25 underground storage facilities in the Russian Federation with the total working gas capacity of 66.28 billion m3. With the account of three UGS facilities in Belarus, Gazprom’s working gas capacity amounts to 67.14 billion m3.
On December 20, 2012 during the abnormally cold weather Gazprom reached the record daily withdrawal rate in the entire Russian UGS history – 670.7 million m3 a day (with 14.3% of operating gas reserves withdrawn by this date), which almost corresponded to the maximum possible daily deliverability at the withdrawal season startup (671.1 million m3). The peak withdrawal rate from Russian storages exceeded 39% of gas consumption within the Unified Gas Supply System.
UGS capacity expansion is a strategic objective of Gazprom. UGS facilities created to smooth out seasonal fluctuations are 5 to 7 times less expensive than the respective backup facilities for gas production and transmission. Gazprom expands UGS facilities in order to raise the flexibility and ensure the optimum loading of the system.
Nowadays, the projects are underway in Russia to construct underground gas storages in salt caverns: the Volgogradskoye and Kaliningradskoye UGS facilities with 830 and 261 million m3 of working gas capacity. Construction of the large Bednodemyanovskoye UGS facility has been launched. It is planned to start the construction of the Novomoskovskoye and Shatrovskoye UGS facilities along with gas storages in the Republic of Tatarstan. Some of the existing UGS facilities, namely Kasimovskoye, Kushchevskoye, Punginskoye, Sovkhoznoye and Stepnovskoye, will be retrofitted and expanded.
Gazprom uses European UGS facilities: in Austria (Haidach), the UK (Vitol owned UGS facility), Germany (Rehden and Verbundnetz Gas AG owned UGS facility), Serbia (Banatski Dvor), Latvia (Incukalns) and France (Vitol owned UGS facility). Between 2006 and 2013 Gazprom’s storage capacities in Europe grew from 1.4 to 4.5 billion m3, while the daily deliverability rose from 18.2 to 35.7 million m3.
In 2011 three UGS facilities being built with Gazprom Group’s participation were brought onstream. In April 2011 Phase 2 of the Haidach UGS facility was commissioned in Austria. Working gas capacity of Phase 1 and Phase 2 makes up 2.8 billion m3, daily deliverability – 28 million m3. The Haidach UGS facility enhances security of Russian gas supplies to the consumers in Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Slovakia and Italy.
The Banatski Dvor UGS facility (Serbia) was commissioned in October 2011. The UGS facility will secure the reliability of Russian gas export to Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Phase 1 working gas capacity totals 450 million m3, daily deliverability – 5 million m3, with possible expansion in the future.
As part of the Katharina UGS facility construction, the first cavern was commissioned on October 1. The UGS working gas capacity will stand at some 620 million m3.
Pursuant to the agreements signed with the consortium of investors (TAQA Onshore B.V. and Energie Beheer Nederland B.V.), the Bergermeer UGS facility is being built in the Netherlands. Gazprom will receive the access to working gas capacity of 1.9 billion m3. The UGS will operate in close proximity to the TTF and Zeebrugge Hub, main European trading platforms. This project will secure the reliable operation of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, owing to the UGS strategic location and large working gas volumes. Commercial operation of the UGS is scheduled for 2014.
In March 2013 Gazprom Group and MND Group inked an Agreement on a new underground gas storage (UGS) facility construction in Damborice, South Moravia. The UGS facility construction will start in 2014, the commissioning is scheduled for 2016. The working gas capacity of the UGS facility will total 448 million m3, thus making it one of the largest facilities of its kind in the Czech Republic.
Further development opportunities are under review with the Company’s partners on the deployment of new underground gas storages in the UK, France, Romania and Turkey.
The operating gas reserve in Russian UGS facilities: