Conexus: we need new ways of us­ing Inčukalns gas stor­age fa­cil­ity

Baltic News Network - - News -

Fol­low­ing the lib­er­al­iza­tion of the coun­try’s gas mar­ket, it is nec­es­sary to search for new ways of us­ing Inčukalns gas stor­age fa­cil­ity, says Conexus Baltic Grid chair­per­son Zane Kotāne.

«Inčukalns is at a mar­ket cross­roads, when it is nec­es­sary to search for new ways of us­ing the stor­age fa­cil­ity. Last year, we started work­ing on this. Dan­ish com­pany Ram­bol per­formed a study fi­nanced by the Euro­pean Union on the way the role of Inčukalns stor­age fa­cil­ity could change af­ter the lib­er­al­iza­tion of the mar­ket and which prod­ucts or ser­vices the com­pany should fo­cus on to de­velop,» said Kotāne. Speak­ing of the main con­clu­sions of the study, she said that while in the past Inčukalns worked as a sea­sonal stor­age fa­cil­ity, two more pos­si­ble goals for the use of the fa­cil­ity have been pro­posed to grad­u­ally re­place its role as a sea­sonal fa­cil­ity. One of them is the so-called short-term use vari­ant and the other is – en­sur­ing safety of sup­plies.

«There is of­ten a di­a­logue on short-term use, im­ply­ing use of the stor­age fa­cil­ity for two days. How­ever, short term use in re­al­ity means a slightly dif­fer­ent thing. It is about us­ing gas mar­ket price fluc­tu­a­tions, and the mar­ket is very volatile. Nat­u­ral gas ex­change price changes un­der in­flu­ence from many dif­fer­ent fac­tors. The stor­age fa­cil­ity serves as a way to man­age and fix­ate prices,» ex­plains Conexus man­ager.

She also adds that the stor­age fa­cil­ity can serve as so-called park­ing for liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas. «This kind of move­ment is very spe­cific. When a ship docks in Klaipeda, it needs to be emp­tied a quickly as pos­si­ble. This means tech­ni­cal pro­cesses and the stor­age fa­cil­ity’s prod­ucts have to be sorted to en­sure quick trans­fer of gas from the ship to the fa­cil­ity,» says Kotāne. An­other di­rec­tion for the fa­cil­ity to work to­wards is sat­is­fac­tion of peak de­mand. «Gas con­sump­tion tends to vary. For ex­am­ple, con­sump­tion in Latvia can reach one mil­lion m3 a day dur­ing the sum­mer sea­son. Dur­ing win­ter, how­ever, con­sump­tion can reach up to 12 mil­lion m3 a day. It is not sim­ple to se­cure peak con­sump­tion. It is one di­rec­tion in which the fa­cil­ity could have a larger role. His­tor­i­cally Latvi­jas Gāze planned its stores by pre­dict­ing in­flux. Now, how­ever, traders have to plan ev­ery­thing them­selves. The stor­age fa­cil­ity is a tool to be used in plan­ning,» says Conexus chair­per­son. Al­though un­til now in­vest­ments in the stor­age fa­cil­ity have been suf­fi­cient and the fa­cil­ity it­self has been well-main­tained, new cap­i­tal in­vest­ments are needed to en­sure new ac­tiv­i­ties. «We have to con­sider op­por­tu­ni­ties at the same nat­u­ral gas vol­ume present in the fa­cil­ity and se­cure a larger vol­ume to the trans­mis­sion sys­tem if it is needed. We are work­ing on col­lec­tion thresh­old for ren­o­va­tions in a way that will not only re­place old equip­ment but also help change the tech­no­log­i­cal process, sep­a­rat­ing each of the well to make them in­di­vid­u­ally man­aged. Cur­rently all wells are man­aged to­gether. Once divi­sion is per­formed, the sit­u­a­tion will change. Also in re­la­tion to the re­con­struc­tion of wells is se­cu­rity, change of sup­ply times. An­other thing to keep in mind is choos­ing tech­nolo­gies that al­low wells to func­tion more ef­fi­ciently. This is what the mar­ket de­mands – quick and flex­i­ble pro­vi­sion of ser­vices to traders,» adds Kotāne.

Ieva Leiniša/LETA

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