Gazprom Puts Stakes on Dutch Gas Storage Project

By Yekaterina Pokrovskaya, February 11, 2014

Reliability of gas supply is one of the pillars of energy policy in the European gas market, which has traditionally been Gazprom’s key market. Uninterrupted fuel supply to one of the world’s most power-hungry markets provides not only heat and light for homes, but also ensures reliable delivery of gas to the industrial sector and guarantees its sustainable development. The project to build Europe’s largest underground gas storage (UGS) in the Netherlands, which is nearing completion, perfectly fits this strategy and has been executed with the participation of Russia’s gas giant Gazprom. 

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company Co. (Abu Dhabi, UAE), better known as TAQA Energy, announced recently that construction, commissioning of the facility and injection of cushion gas into the Bergermeer underground gas storage in the Netherlands were completed. Gazprom, which has been responsible for injecting gas into the UGS, partnered with TAQA Energy in the project, scheduled to be launched in April 2014.

Cushion gas injection was conducted over four years, Gazprom’s press office told OGE. Next year, after above-ground work is completed, Gazprom will obtain storage capacity in the facility. In exchange for the entire volume of gas pumped into the storage, Gazprom will receive a share of Bergermeer long-term storage capacities and will also co-own with TAQA Energy BV the operator company. This will allow the Russian partner to monitor the operating performance of the storage facility.

TAQA Energy and Gazprom established a partnership in December 2008 when they signed a memorandum of understanding on the $800 million UGS Bergermeer joint construction project. In August 2009, a consortium including Energie Beheer Nederland (EBN), Dyas BV, Petro-Canada and TAQA Energy BV (TAQA’s Netherlands-based affiliate) signed an agreement with Gazprom Export on delivery of cushion gas for the project. Under the agreement, the Russian side pledged to pump the entire volume of required cushion gas (4.1 billion cubic meters) into the storage in exchange for access to 1.9 billion cubic meters of active gas storage and 26.4 million cubic meters of daily retrieval rate. Currently, only the facility in the northern German city of Rehden can boast larger storage capacity (4.4 billion cubic meters), but the Bergermeer UGS will claim the top spot in 2015 when its storage capacity is slated to reach a record 5 billion cubic meters. Gazprom’s booked access to 1.9 billion cubic meters entitles the Russian giant to sell about half of the active gas in the storage. 

“TAQA owns 50 percent and we will operate the facility, and 40 percent is owned by the Dutch state-owned energy project developer Energie Beheer Nederland. Gazprom is involved in the facility operations as a strategic partner from the Russian side,” Allan Virtanen, head of media at TAQA Energy, told OGE.

According to TAQA Energy, the facility will be gradually put into operation starting in April 2014. It is expected to operate at full capacity in 2015. By that time, the volume of active gas storage will reach 5 billion cubic meters, with the daily storage retrieval