John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Thursday, November 24, 2005
  Gas Crisis: Urgent Question
The link is to hansard for my supplementary question to my urgent question about gas.

Basically the situation is that the National Grid are taking gas out of Long Term Storage at the maximum rate. (and did so on Tuesday as well). I quoted the figures for Sat/Sun/Mon.

This is not sustainable and if all else remains equal (viz temperatures remain the same, supply is the same) then we breach the safety monitors and have to start shutting down parts of the network by cutting off people on interruptible supplies (industrial users) in late December early January and keeping them off until March.

Now in my 45 years of life it has generally got colder through that period rather than warmer and I (and the Met office) would expect that.

Hence, unless there is a really good reason to see otherwise, that is likely to happen.

I have now managed to source figures as to the detailed inputs into the system.

Our new LNG system in the Isle of Grain that is supposed to produce 13 mcm/d peaked at 6 and was at 2 on Tuesday. Even if the tankers didn't keep wandering off to Spain this would perhaps give another 10 mcm/d.

The good old interconnector that everyone goes on about was expected to give us 42 mcm/d according to the plans earlier this year. In November it has averaged 22, but on 17/18 it hit 40/41. On Tuesday it was at 33.

Hence you could argue that there is leeway of 11 (LNG)+ 9 (IC)=20 mcm.

We took 54 mcm out of storage on Tuesday. The Rogh LTS has an official maximum of 455 GWh. It has been running at a higher figure than that 469/496/484 (Sun-Tue).

My guess is that has the tap fully open essentially and is maxed out. The pressure peaks at 200 Atmospheres, as the pressure goes down the amount that can come out of this particular source per day will reduce.

There was an interruption warning for Tuesday (South West) and there is one today (North West). Essentially I don't see evidence that anything is going to get substantially better and there is evidence that the weather is going to get worse.

Under average weather conditions, a change in temperature of +/ 1 degree would result in a -/+ 50-60 GWh (5mcm) per day change in demand from domestic GCH consumers. On a typical cold winter day this would probably rise to around 90-120 GWh (10mcm) per day. On an extreme cold 1 in 20 winter day this could be of the order of 160-180 (16mcm) GWh/day

This is the main issue of elasticity in demand. The domestic customers will be primarily on fixed tarrifs, however.

Obviously snow does not help.

On an annual basis the figures for demand are:
Firm supply 625 TWh
Interruptible 105 TWh
Industrials 36 TWh
Power 240 TWh
Export 137 TWh)
(Source National Grid Ten year strategy figures for 2004)

The problem that seriously worries me is that I do not have the figures for the different pattern of demand during winter. Most of the increased demand is domestic.
There is no export.

Gas Consumption by sector in Tera Watt Hours in 2003 was
DomesticIndustryCommercialPowerEnergy Industry
385.985183.305101.825324.863108.171

Without the storage we would be short of the order of 50 mcm (about 550 GWh) a day.
Only 10% of the annual demand (ignoring export) is interruptible and 50 mcm is just under a 1/7th of supply.

That is if everything else remains equal, of course. This still implies a sufficiency for domestic customers.
 
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