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Gas system infrastructure

The Czech gas system infrastructure is well developed and able to react to the changing shape of gas transit across its territory. Changes of flows directions across the Europe will greatly influence the future development of the transit system. New international pipeline development projects and the decreasing extraction of gas in Europe will determine the directions of transit flows in the future. The transit pipelines of the transmission system are, in terms of the current demand and transit, sufficiently dimensioned. Supplies to northern Moravia and Silesia are conditioned by the cooperation of the transmission system operator and the operators of local gas storage facilities, as the region is supplied by a single line of the domestic transmission system with diameter of 700 mm and annual capacity of 4.0 bcm.

The capacity of gas storage facilities and their withdrawal and injection capacity are proportionate to the demand for gas in the Czech Republic. The traders’ obligation to provide a secure standard of supply to protected customers has not yet been reflected in the increased demand for storage capacity, and hence not in the price of the storage capacity of gas storage facilities. In some EU countries, the unfavourable situation has even forced some operators to shut down or stop the operation of some gas storage facilities. In 2017, some Czech operators of gas storages started to talk about this possibility as well.


Medium-term horizon

The realization of projects that react to the changes in the direction of transit flows across the Czech Republic in the direction to Austria, Italy and Germany can be anticipated in medium term. This means, in particular, the enlargement of a border transfer station in Hora Svaté Kateřiny, and a construction of a new pipeline parallel to the Gazelle pipeline. The adjustments conducted in 2016 to the compressor station at Veselí nad Lužnicí already allow the transmission of gas in the Přimda-Lanžhot direction. These projects will increase the transmission capacity between the Gaspool trading area (Germany) and CEGH (Austria). The planned BACI pipeline would serve the same purpose. The project has the chance to succeed to the reduced extent of up to 7 bcm a year with an increase of the exit capacity on the CZ–SK profile at the Lanžhot station of 11 bcm a year. The traders’ interest in the utilization of the virtual CZ–AT interconnection (TRU service), with an annual capacity of 850 GWh (80 mcm) which is in operation since January 2018, might also play a role. It is a cooperated capacity thas was negotiated with the Slovak TSO – eustream company.

The construction of the intrastate Moravia pipeline is planned for 2022. The Moravia pipeline is unequivocally helpful for supplying northern Moravia and Silesia. Once it is not realized, development of source base of power system is not then possible in any case study. This project has been revised many times until now and it is not still sure when and if the pipeline will be constructed. The situation with the next pipeline, STORK II, which would allow connection of the region to the Polish system, is similar. The CZ–PL interconnection would be useful for greater diversification of sources and in terms of greater market interconnection. Currently, however, it is hampered by a decline in interest on the Polish side and the fact that in the connection place, the Polish networks operate under lower pressures than on the Czech side.

Whether the construction of BACI and STORK II pipelines will or will not take place will have direct effect on securing gas supplies for the Czech Republic, although these projects could increase the diversification of routes leading to the Czech Republic. BACI will help shippers to avoid charges related to the transmission of gas to Austria and Italy through Slovakia. In case of the STORK II pipeline, the option of exporting gas to Poland arises. The date of realization of the Záboří-Oberkappel gas pipeline project is unknown, as it was postponed indefinitely and will probably not be implemented in the medium-term horizon.

In the medium-term horizon, there is no anticipated commissioning of a new gas storage facility; only the operational capacity of the Dambořice facility will be increased. In 2019, connection of gas storage in Dolní Bojanovice to Czech gas system is planned. In relation to consumption and storage capacities, this indicator will thus be met 40 up to 48%. Requirement of SEP will be fulfilled.

Transmission system development options

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Long-term horizon

It is not possible to determine clearly how the new supply routes from the south (TurkStream, Southern Gas Corridor, etc.) will change the situation on the European gas market. More extensive portfolio would increase supply on the market and it will probably strengthen a change in directions of transit flows across Europe. Long-term trading will be probably replaced to greater degree with short-term trading at gas hubs. The development of infrastructure will be strongly related to the requirements of the market and will follow them. The Czech system will not change any more in terms of capacity dimensioning. In this period the third-party access exemption on the Gazelle pipeline will end (the exemption applies only in the Brandov–Waidhaus direction). In view of the anticipated increase in demand, meeting the SEP requirement would mean commissioning of 1.2 bcm of gas storage capacity.