Open Grid Europe invests in interconnected European network
Germany’s leading gas transmission system operator Open Grid Europe is expanding its network with a view to improving gas transmission across market areas and national borders.
The company is currently performing what is known as a flow reversal on an 86 km pipeline between Porz near Cologne and Stolberg near Aachen, which will increase transportation capacities at the border crossing points in Eynatten and Bocholtz.
This has meant expanding the Porz compressor station operated by Mittelrheinische Erdgastransportleitungsgesellschaft (METG). Over an 18-month design and construction period, the station's piping was modified and its control system adapted to the new requirements. Two of the existing metering & regulating systems were also upgraded to allow gas flows and pressures to be controlled in both directions. Total investment in the project is EUR 6.7 million.
The expansion will allow larger gas flows from the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK to be handled at the German-Belgian border crossing point Eynatten for further transportation via Cologne-Porz to southern Germany, or vice versa.
The project lays the foundation for improving the connection between the Zeebrugge Hub operated by Belgian TSO Fluxys and NetConnect Germany's virtual trading point (NCG VTP).
Together with Oberkappel (Austria), Oude Statenzijl (The Netherlands) and from 1 October 2011 Ellund (Denmark), Eynatten is the fourth border crossing point at which gas can be physically imported and exported on the basis of firm capacity contracts.
"This project is another stepping stone towards a European energy market. Improving these interconnections is the only way of guaranteeing security of supply and a properly functioning gas transportation market. But this also still requires economic framework conditions to be improved," said Stephan Kamphues, Chairman of the Open Grid Europe Board of Management.
Background: Porz compressor station
Cologne Porz is home to Open Grid Europe's oldest compressor station. Built in 1954, it is today operated by Mittelrheinischen Erdgastransportleitungsgesellschaft (METG), a fully owned subsidiary of Open Grid Europe.
In its early days the Porz station was used to move coke oven gas. 1969 saw the advent of natural gas. Since 1973 the station has been used for compressing both low and high-calorific gas separately without any blending.
Compressor building Porz IV, which houses two electrically driven compressors, was commissioned in 2006 to handle increased gas flows from and into the UK via the Interconnector, for which a 100 bar pipeline was built from Porz to the Belgian border.
There are a total of eight compressor units at Porz raising the gas pressure for transportation to southern Germany. They have a total capacity of 100 megawatt (MW), compressing up to 2 million cubic metres of natural gas per hour.