New market area transition point goes into operation

Gernsheim. There is a new link between the market areas GASPOOL and NCG (Net Connect Germany): After a construction period of just over one-and-a-half years, the network interconnection point Gernsheim has been put into operation. The first successful month-ahead auction on the PRISMA European Capacity Platform was registered on Monday (20 January) and the day-ahead auction started yesterday. The new transition point increases the transport capacity between the two market areas by 4.4 gigawatts (GW) and so will help ensure diversification of gas transport in Europe.

The new market area transition point connects the natural gas pipelines MIDAL and MEGAL. MIDAL is run by the Kassel-based gas pipeline network operator GASCADE and MEGAL by Mittel-Europäische Gasleitungsgesellschaft (MEGAL). Both companies made a major contribution to the project’s success: Whereas MEGAL built a gas-driven compressor with an output of 8 megawatts (MW), a new metering and pressure regulating station and an annex on behalf of GRTgaz Deutschland, GASCADE constructed a 16-kilometer pipeline from the MIDAL valve station in Herchenrode (Darmstadt-Dieburg district, community of Modautal) through the Odenwald to Gernsheim.

“The new network interconnection enables additional transports across market areas in both directions,” is how GASCADE’s Managing Director Christoph von dem Bussche underscores the importance of the new point on Germany’s pipeline map, stating: “Transport routes have changed as a result of construction of the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream and the pipeline links NEL and OPAL. We are reflecting that in order to ensure a even more secure supply of natural gas for Southern Germany and Western Europe.”

GASCADE began work back in April 2013 and has laid 1,000 pipes with a diameter of 50 centimeters. They can transport up to 39 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of natural gas a year – enough to supply up to 2.5 million detached houses for one year. For GASCADE, construction of the pipeline link is part of a larger project that includes extension of a 90-kilometer section of MIDAL (MIDAL Southern Loop) and expansion of several compressor stations. GASCADE is spending a total of some 300 million euros to increase capacities in Germany’s natural gas network.

The MEGAL compressor station in Gernsheim, which has been in operation since 2009, has four gas turbine compressors and a total output of more than 50 MW. Up to now, Gernsheim has been an important point only within the market area NCG. “This projects enables us to create a flexible and optimized solution for our transport customers by leveraging synergies from the existing facilities. The new interconnection point between NCG and GASPOOL will permit optimal use of the German export point Medelsheim on MEGAL in the direction of France and so help diversify gas transport in Europe,” states Nicolas Delaporte, Managing Director of GRTgaz Deutschland.