Business development results

Gasunie’s strategy responds to the major changes taking place in the energy landscape in the Netherlands and beyond. Gasunie aspires to a permanent role as an energy infrastructure company in a reliable, affordable and, in the long-term, CO2-free energy supply. That is also the context for a strategic use of people and resources. In order to create and utilise growth opportunities, the number of people and resources available for business development projects has been expanded. These projects are described in clusters below, including the phasing and an indication of the investment.

Renewable gas cluster

In cooperation with SCW Systems, the demo gasification plant in Alkmaar was built in 2017. At this plant, the new technology of supercritical water gasification is used to sustainably produce gas and reusable raw materials from wet biomass (residual and waste flows). In the coming years, the demo facility will be scaled up in phases in order to demonstrate that this new technology can work reliably on an industrial scale. SCW Systems and Gasunie New Energy each have a 50% share in the facility. Scaling up the supply of renewable gases is extremely important to achieve the envisioned CO2-free energy supply by 2050.

Together with Participatiefonds Duurzame Economie Noord-Holland (PDENH), ENGIE, Dahlman Renewable Technology and ECN, Gasunie New Energy is working to realise this Ambigo green gas installation.

Ambigo is a research and demonstration facility where three innovative technologies (called MILENA, OLGA and ESME) are being combined in an industrial process to produce green gas. Together they ensure that the installation - with 70% efficiency, a record for gasification projects - can convert various types of biomass into green gas. Ambigo fits in with our ambition to use innovative technologies to facilitate the scaling up of the supply of renewable gases.

Twente biogas network
The opening of the Twente Biogas Network at the beginning of 2017 represents a step in strengthening and upscaling the role of green gas in the sustainable energy supply. The Twente Biogas Network adds 4 million m3 of green gas to the existing production of 81 million m3. The Twente Biogas Network is a collaboration between Gasunie New Energy and Cogas, with cooperation from the Energiefonds Overijssel. In due course, the biogas network will be able to feed 40 million m3 of green gas into the Cogas network. This corresponds to the average gas use of 25,000 domestic households.

Hydrogen and power-to-gas cluster

In the future, hydrogen will become an important clean energy carrier in a sustainable CO2-free energy supply. Besides renewable electricity, a great deal of energy will still have to be transported and stored in molecular form.

Hydrogen can be used for, among other things, mobility/transport, industry and electricity supply. Use in the built environment is also conceivable. Hydrogen, originating from sustainable power sources, among other places, but also from methane in combination with CO2 storage, can be added in the current gas transport network and can fulfil a significant part of the energy requirements.

Gasunie New Energy sees power-to-gas as a very promising technology in which the gas infrastructure plays a connecting role. This technology can help convert sustainable power, coming from wind farms, for instance, into hydrogen and it is expected to contribute to the achievement of climate goals after 2030. Since the beginning of 2017, the attention to and interest in hydrogen as a potentially clean and flexible energy carrier has increased strongly.

Gasunie New Energy is fully engaged in starting up and rolling out projects to stimulate this hydrogen economy.

HyStock is the name given to the collaboration with EnergyStock in relation to the conversion, storage and transport of green hydrogen. The Final Investment Decision (FID) for this project was made in the year under review. Completion is planned for autumn 2018. This project can serve as a stepping stone for larger-scale electrolysis projects and hydrogen storage. Together with the partners, a subsidy was applied for (TSO 2020 call) and received for this project.

Gasunie Waterstof Services 
The project to make an existing natural gas transport pipeline suitable for use as a hydrogen transport pipeline is on course. At the end of 2018, the pipeline will be able to transport hydrogen from Dow Chemicals to Yara and ICL-IP in Zeelandic-Flanders. Gasunie Waterstof Services B.V. (GWS) was set up for this in 2017. In the future, we want to add more infrastructure for hydrogen transport to GWS.

North Sea Wind Power Hub
During the year under review, Gasunie joined the North Sea Wind Power Hub consortium, which up to that point had consisted of the network companies TenneT (the Netherlands), (Denmark) and TenneT (Germany). The Port of Rotterdam Authority has also since joined the consortium. The companies are joining forces for further research and inquiry into the development of a large-scale, sustainable European energy system on the North Sea. Wind power and hydrogen are areas of focus. The collaboration is an important step towards the ultimate creation of a North Sea Wind Power Hub in the 2030-2050 period, which should make a crucial contribution to the achievement of the objectives of the Paris climate agreement (COP21). The quantities of offshore wind energy required for the energy transition are so large that in addition to electricity connections, solutions for gaseous transport and storage in the form of hydrogen must also be used. This can subsequently play a major role in increasing the sustainability of the energy supply for industrial businesses and other sectors.

Heat cluster

The new coalition agreement devotes a great deal of attention to reducing the demand for heat and making it more sustainable. Gasunie regards the heat grid as an essential component in the sustainable energy mix of 2050. In the built environment, heating requirements will largely be satisfied by heat pumps, solar boilers and heat grids that use residual heat.

Zuid-Holland heat roundabout
In 2017, together with the Port of Rotterdam Authority and a number of other parties, we started a large study into the feasibility and manner of realisation of a large-scale heat infrastructure in Zuid-Holland: the Zuid-Holland Heat Roundabout. The ambition is to combine existing and new pipelines in a main infrastructure in the province of Zuid-Holland. The ultimate goal is an open transport network with an independent network operator, which every heat provider can supply. This should create an optimum basis for utilising as many sustainable heat sources as possible in the region as soon as they become available. Gasunie mainly aspires to a role as transporter in the heat infrastructure.

North-Western Groningen Heat Network
The possibilities of a cooperation with WarmteStad in Groningen were also looked into in 2017. In 2017, Gasunie provided support for the development of the North-Western Groningen Heat Network. Since the end of 2017, WarmteStad has been seeking an alternative sustainable heat supply instead of the geothermal source originally envisioned. That is why the support from Gasunie has been put ‘on hold’ indefinitely.

CCS cluster

The Port of Rotterdam Authority, Gasunie and EBN are carrying out a feasibility study into CCS in Rotterdam. CCS (carbon capture and storage) has been mentioned both internationally and in the coalition agreement as an important instrument for scaling back CO2 emissions on time and achieving the Paris climate agreements. Many companies still do not have enough renewable or circular alternatives for reducing CO2 emissions within the time frame required in order to achieve the climate goals. CCS is regarded as a cost-effective solution for this which could be quickly applied. Together with the Port of Rotterdam Authority and EBN, Gasunie is investigating the possibilities of realising a basic infrastructure for the collection and transport of CO2 in the Rotterdam port area, which could then be stored in (empty) oil and gas fields under the North Sea. The aim is to make an investment decision in 2018. The system can then be operational in 2020.

In the context of the study, Gasunie, the Port of Rotterdam Authority and EBN have in mind a robust basic infrastructure for transport and storage (a ‘backbone’), where various companies could get rid of their CO2. Important cost advantages could be realised by setting up this pipeline ring and the storage facilities as a ‘collective facility’.

Data/IT cluster

In cooperation with partners, Gasunie New Energy is developing applications that provide real-time insight into how much sustainable energy is being generated in the Netherlands. Information services like these can become very important in helping the market make choices so as to use energy sources as smartly as possible. The idea is that this can help prevent CO2 emissions and create ‘smart’ flexibility, which can accelerate the energy transition. It was decided in 2017 to expand to include other forms of sustainable energy. This application is a cooperation with TenneT, the Social Economic Council (SER), NBNL and Hanze University of Applied Sciences. This project will be continued, with a focus on more sources, such as heat pumps and biomass. Gasunie New Energy is also working to develop information services that facilitate the use of green gas in the market.

International gas infrastructure cluster

Gasunie wants to strengthen its position in north-western Europe and offer efficient services in relation to gas infrastructure and LNG that contribute to the functioning of the increasingly integrated European gas market. In south-eastern Europe, where gas markets are still in a growth phase to some extent and where new supply routes for gas are developing, strategic positions with limited financial size are being looked at.

Gasunie Engineering 
In 2017, as the result of a tender issued for this, Gasunie Engineering and DNVGL landed a consultancy contract in support of the TANAP project (Trans Anatolian National Gas Pipeline Project). This pipeline is expected to connect the gas fields from the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan, and later possibly also gas fields in Turkmenistan and Iran, with Europe, via Turkey.

The TANAP pipeline is important for opening up new sources of gas for the European market and increases the diversity of the European gas supply. This supports the good functioning of the integrating European gas market and the security of supply.

The provision of consultancy services is consistent with the expansion of our activities in south-eastern Europe, where gas markets are under development. Gasunie Engineering will be working with DNVGL to guide the TANAP activities for the responsible and safe start-up of the pipeline and the first phase of operational use of the pipeline.

Gasunie Deutschland has signed an agreement with German gas transport network operators Gascade Gastransport, Fluxys Deutschland and ONTRAS Gastransport for the acquisition of a 16.5% share in the EUGAL pipeline project. Participation in this project constitutes expansion of Gasunie Deutschland’s transport capacity, bolstering the position of Gasunie’s network in international transit flows. The EUGAL (Europäische Gas-Anbindungsleitung) pipeline will run from the Baltic Sea to the southern part of Saxony and from there on to the Czech border, covering a distance of approximately 485 kilometres. Various branches to the west link will the pipeline to gas markets in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK. The first of the two planned pipelines should be ready towards the end of 2019. Gascade will retain a 50.5% share in the project and is responsible for construction and future management of the pipeline. The decision to construct the EUGAL pipeline was made after a market survey and the contracting of the necessary capacity and falls entirely under German regulation.

German LNG Terminal
Gasunie initiated the founding of the joint venture ‘German LNG Terminal GmbH’ together with Oiltanking and Vopak LNG Holding. The goal of the venture is the development of an LNG terminal in northern Germany. This is being done on the basis of a feasibility study carried out with Brunsbüttel, a city on the Elbe north of Hamburg, serving as the location. The joint venture strengthens the position of the Gasunie network with respect to supply flows in the core area of north-western Europe. The terminal can play an important role in the diversification of Germany's energy supply. German power generation provides for the phasing out of nuclear energy and coal in the short term; the use of brown coal is also under pressure. This - and the strongly fluctuating supply of solar and wind energy - entails a growing demand for gas. As an extension of this, the need for diversification of supply also grows. The terminal will also form the basis for the distribution of LNG as a cleaner transport fuel alternative to diesel and fuel oil. The European Commission has approved the collaboration of the three parties in a joint venture. An open season will take place in the first half of 2018. The aim is to have an investment decision in 2019.

Size and phasing of projects

The size and phasing of the business development projects described in this annual report is shown in the table below. In this table, the indicative size of the investment (for the entire project) has been divided into five classes:  € 1-10 million, € 10-50 million, € 50-250 million, € 250-500 million and more than € 500 million. Gasunie’s investment is usually a part of this, since, as a rule, these projects are carried out by a collaboration of partners. The phasing relates to the year in which the project will be finished and the operational period starts.

Pipeline damage incidents 2018 2019/2020 2021/2022 2023/2025 after 2025
Pillar II: Connecting Europe          
- EUGAL pipeline project   € 250-500M      
- German LNG terminal       € 250-500M  
Pillar III: Energy in transition          
- SCW   € 50-250M      
- Ambigo   € 10-50M      
- HyStock          
- North Sea Wind Power Hub         > € 500M
- Zuid-Holland Heat Roundabout       € 50-250M > € 500M
- CCS Rotterdam     € 250-500M