Large-scale L/H-gas conversion

Large-scale L/H-gas conversion in Open Grid Europe network area to start in April

Conversion of Osnabrück begins on 2 April 2019

On 2 April 2019, the conversion of the city of Osnabrück to high-calorific gas (H-gas) will begin. To make this possible, the transmission system operator Open Grid Europe GmbH (OGE) has built two new gas metering and pressure regulating stations in Nordlohne and Hilter in the greater Osnabrück area. According to the Gas Network Development Plan, the project is worth around €7 million. The new station in Nordlohne will be commissioned on 1 April 2019, linking the city of Osnabrück directly to OGE’s H-gas network.

The conversion activities in the area will be handled by the distribution system operator SWO Netz GmbH. Since October 2018, technicians commissioned by SWO Netz GmbH have been working in Osnabrück to prepare some 55,000 gas appliances for operation with H-gas. "The first conversion on 2 April is an important milestone in the entire project," explains Christian Lüttkemöller, the project manager in charge of the gas conversion project at SWO Netz GmbH. "So far, the conversion has gone smoothly – thanks in part to the support received from the citizens of Osnabrück." Frank Harlacher, OGE’s L/H-gas conversion project manager: "The conversion to H-gas was planned and prepared well ahead together with SWO Netz GmbH. Given the continuous decline in L-gas availability, it is crucial to complete this changeover on schedule." 

Preparations in Osnabrück have been underway since 2014. In 2016, OGE, along with SWO Netz GmbH and two industrial customers directly connected to OGE's grid, concluded a binding agreement on a timetable for the changeover. 

A total of around 170,000 appliances in the OGE network area will be converted to H-gas in 2019. This means that more than half of the nationwide conversion activities will take place in the OGE network area.

The pipeline grids have to be converted to H-gas because L-gas production in the northwest of Germany and in the Netherlands is set to decrease over the next few years. H-gas, on the other hand, is available internationally and thus in sufficient quantities for Germany in the long term. The switch to high-calorific H-gas therefore ensures a high level of supply security in the long term.

The different properties of the H-gas also require domestic gas appliances and systems in the region to be adapted. Across Germany, around 5 million gas appliances will have to be switched to H-gas by 2030. All affected customers will be informed by their local network operator in writing ahead of the actual changeover. The modification costs for residential and commercial gas customer will be included in the network fees as a levy charged across Germany.