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Bergermeer gas storage starts selling capacity in the Netherlands

Abu Dhabi National Energy (Taqa) started selling long-term storage capacity at the Bergermeer gas storage facility, in the Netherlands, this week, a company executive told the Flame gas conference

The 4.1 billion cubic metres (bcm) facility is just 20 km from the Balgzand Bacton Line pipeline, so it is not only positioned to supply the German and French gas markets, but it could also be used as proxy storage by UK customers.

The Bergermeer site is also expected to double the Netherland’s storage capacity when it starts commercial operations in 2014, and will have an open season to sell capacity until November 2011. Under the open season, 1 billion cm of storage capacity will be available, with the remaining auctioned at a later date.

It could result in more liquefied natural gas (LNG) coming to Europe as importers could store gas for later use. “The more gas supply the better, so Gate LNG customers could use the Bergermeer site to store gas for later,” Adri Pols, Taqa commercial manager, said.

Taqa said Bergermeer would also increase the Netherlands’ security of supply, especially as domestic demand is expected to rise significantly. “The Netherlands is a net exporter at the moment, but is expected to be net importer in 10 years time,” Pols said.

Dutch gas production grew by 12.4% to 82.89 billion cm in 2010, while consumption also increased faster at 15.3% to 46.8 billion cm, according to the latest Cedigaz estimates.

Russia’s Gazprom has already agreed to provide the cushion gas for Bergermeer – the gas needed to stay in the storage facility to provide the right pressure – in exchange for working storage capacity and a part interest in being the operator.

Bergermeer will deliver gas at the TTF Dutch gas market hub and has an injection capacity of 42 million cm/d and withdrawal rate of 57 million cm/d.

European gas consumption is expected to climb in the next few years, increasing the need for storage capacity to satisfy sudden demand spikes. Gas demand is expected to be driven by fuel switching from power generators from coal for environmental reasons and the aversion to new nuclear plants. 

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