The Anonymous Widower

Will Our Gas Supplies Hold Up This Winter?

I am prompted to ask this question because of this article in The Times, which is entitled ‘Really High Gas Prices’ Loom For UK As Europe Faces Winter Rationing.

These are a few thoughts.

UK Gas-Fired Power Station Capacity

This entry in Wikipedia is entitled List Of Natural Gas Power Stations In The United Kingdom.

This statement summarises the capacity.

There are currently 32 active gas fired combined cycle power plants operating in the United Kingdom, which have a total generating capacity of 28.0 GW.

This section is entitled Decline Of Gas For Power In The United Kingdom, where this is said.

In 2016 gas fired power stations generated a total of 127 TWh of electricity. Generation has dropped to 119 TWh in 2017, 115 TWh in 2018, 114 TWh in 2019 and 95 TWh in 2020. The decline is largely due to the increase in renewable sources outweighing the decline of coal, and an overall reduction in demand.

Putting these pictures as a table and applying a simple numerical analysis technique gives the following.

  • 2016 – 127 TWh
  • 2017 – 119 TWh – Drop of 8TWh
  • 2018 – 115 TWh – Drop of 4 TWh
  • 2019 – 114 TWh – Drop of 1 TWh
  • 2020 – 95 TWh – Drop of 19 TWh

In four years the amount of electricity generated each year by gas-fired power stations has dropped by an amazing 8 TWh on average per year.

Factors like the increase in renewables and an overall reduction in demand will still apply.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a continuous reduction of electricity generated by gas of 8 TWh per year.

Figures like these could be possible.

  • 2021 – 87 TWh
  • 2022 – 79 TWh
  • 2023 – 71 TWh
  • 2024 – 63 TWh
  • 2025 – 55 TWh
  • 2026 – 47 TWh
  • 2027 – 39 TWh

I have stopped these figures at 2027, as one major event should happen in that year, as Hinckley Point C is planned to switch on in June 2027, which will contribute 3.26 GW. or 28.5 TWh per year.

In Will We Run Out Of Power This Winter?, I also summarised the energy that will be produced by the various projects, that were signed off recently in the Contracts for Difference Allocation Round 4′, where I said this.

Summarising the figures for new capacity gives.

  • 2022 – 3200 MW
  • 2023 – 1500 MW
  • 3024 – 2400 MW
  • 2025 – 6576 MW
  • 2026 – 1705 MW
  • 2027 – 7061 GW

This totals to 22442 MW.

Note that a 1 GW power source would generate 8.76 TWh of electricity per year.

 

One problem we may have is too much electricity and as we are not blessed with much storage in the UK, where will be able to put it?

In a strange way, Vlad the Mad may solve the problem, by cutting off Europe’s gas.

Jackdaw Gas Field

This document on the Shell web site is the standard information sheet for the Jackdaw field development.

This is the short description of the development.

The Jackdaw field is an uHPHT reservoir that will be developed with a not permanently
attended WHP. Four wells will be drilled at the Jackdaw WHP. Produced fluids will be
exported via a subsea pipeline to the Shearwater platform where these will be processed
before onward export via the Fulmar Gas Line and the Forties Pipeline System.

The proposed development may be summarised as follows:

  • Installation of a new WHP
  • Drilling of four production wells
  • Installation of a new approximately 31 km pipeline from the Jackdaw WHP to the Shearwater platform
  • Processing and export of the Jackdaw hydrocarbons via the Shearwater host platform

First production expected between Q3 – Q4 2025.

Note.

  1. Production could start in just over three years.
  2. This gas will come ashore at the Bacton gas terminal in Norfolk.
  3. Bacton has two gas interconnectors to Europe; one to Belgium and one to The Netherlands, so is ideally connected to export gas to Europe.

Given the high gas prices, I am sure any company would pull out all the stops to shorten the project development time.

HyDeploy

I described HyDeploy, which is a project to blend up to 20 % of hydrogen into the distributed natural gas in HyDeploy.

In The Mathematics Of Blending Twenty Percent Of Hydrogen Into The UK Gas Grid, I worked how much electricity would be needed for HyDeploy’s target blending of hydrogen.

It was 8.2 GW, but!

  • It would save a lot of carbon emissions.
  • Boilers and other appliances wouldn’t have to be changed, although they would probably need a service.
  • It would significantly cut the amount of natural gas we need.
  • It might even be a product to export in its own right.

I certainly feel that HyDeploy is a significant project.

Gas Imports And Existing Fields

This entry in Wikipedia is entitled Energy in the United Kingdom.

In this section, which is entitled Natural Gas, this is said.

United Kingdom produced 60% of its consumed natural gas in 2010. In five years the United Kingdom moved from almost gas self-sufficient (see North Sea gas) to 40% gas import in 2010. Gas was almost 40% of total primary energy supply (TPES) and electricity more than 45% in 2010. Underground storage was about 5% of annual demand and more than 10% of net imports.

Gasfields include Amethyst gasfieldArmada gasfieldEasington Catchment AreaEast KnaptonEverest gasfield and Rhum gasfield.

Consider.

  • We know that the amount of gas used for generating electricity is reducing , due to the increase in renewables and an overall reduction in demand.
  • The cost of both gas imports and exports are rising.
  • In two years time the Jackdaw gas field should be producing gas.

Would it be sensible to squeeze as much gas out of the existing fields, as by the time they run out, renewables, an overall reduction in demand, the Jackdaw gasfield and other factors will mean that we will have enough gas and electricity for our needs.

July 14, 2022 - Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , ,

8 Comments »

  1. Centrica have applied to reopen Rough storage. They say this could be complete by September, but are saying it isn’t viable without gov support. This could store 10 days of UK supply.

    Comment by Peter Robins | July 15, 2022 | Reply

    • I’m not sure, but it does look that SSE and Equinor are enlarging the storage at Aldbrough.

      https://www.ssethermal.com/energy-storage/aldbrough/

      https://www.ssethermal.com/news-and-views/2021/07/plans-for-world-leading-hydrogen-storage-facility-at-aldbrough/

      Supposedly for hydrogen storage, but if you have no hydrogen could it be used for natural gas?

      They are talking 320 GWh of hydrogen storage. They aren’t thinking small!

      Comment by AnonW | July 15, 2022 | Reply

      • I think what’s needed atm is facilities that can be ready before the winter. Rough could be, but if it depends on the politicians, I’m sceptical whether it actually happens.

        Comment by Peter Robins | July 15, 2022

    • The NSTA has now granted the licence. https://www.nstauthority.co.uk/news-publications/news/2022/nsta-awards-rough-gas-storage-licence-to-centrica-offshore-uk-ltd-in-first-stage-of-potential-reopening/ Talks are now continuing on financial help from the government.

      Comment by Peter Robins | July 22, 2022 | Reply

      • Given that last week, they found 9-11.5 billion for the TransPennine upgrade, there will be a funding plan. It might even be funded by one of the big beasts in the City, with an appropriate tax benefit from the Government.

        I once got the Revenue to back down over an unfair tax rule, as my accountant threatened to take them to the highest court in the land. It only saved me a five-figure sum, but it would have opened up a big hole in Revenue law, so letting me get away with it was cheaper.

        When I paid the seven figure sum for tax after selling my company, I gave them a big cheque, like the football pools and the lottery do. They put it on the wall in the local office.

        I never had a problem with the revenue again.

        Comment by AnonW | July 22, 2022

  2. If Hydrogen has been blended with methane (etc.) in a gas pipline, how easy is it to “unblend” it again, for fuel cell use (motor vehicles and such).

    Also, do you know if a H2/methane blend can be used in a ICE vehicle converted for CNG? (e.g. for trucks/buses where the fleet can return to a suitably equipped depot to refill daily/sub daily). I know a CNG conversion (for a petro ICE engine) is similar to a LPG conversion.

    Comment by MilesT | July 15, 2022 | Reply

  3. What you need to factor in though is that the interconnectors are in export mode considerably more than they have ever been and this has a double impact on UK. Firstly, energy we would normally import has to be substituted by UK based power stations and secondly when we are exporting to EU (rarely Norway although you need to keep an eye on their hydro reservoir levels as they look unlikely to reach the 2021 levels which were already low) this generation has to come from somewhere. OK there is a degree of correlation with high renewables generation and export levels but there are also times when its not and conventional generation is being used.

    Gas usage has been higher this year already because of the above and wind has had some poor months also Hinckley Point B has already shut down one reactor and second in a few weeks. Yes we have more wind coming but all too often the transmission system can’t shift it band it has to be constrained off with CCGTs the main alternative because they can rapid respond.

    Anyhow i believe there is a risk, albeit lowish, the UK could run short of gas because we also rely upon the gas i/c’s to import in winter which seems very unlikely this year. Also if you get blocking high and low temperatures wind will be insignificant domestic gas demand will be elevated and this scenario has hitherto been managed by high cost CCGTs coming off the system and coal being ramped up but that option is limited now. Remember whilst you can drop voltage on the grid you can’t drop gas pressure as boilers will just shut down so domestic distribution has historically been protected at all costs although without electricity my boiler won’t work!

    Finally im not so sure Vlad will cut off the Russian gas as he loves the hypocrisy of selling EU gas to pay for his war (oh and by the way Russia is still the biggest supplier of coal to the UK albeit we are trying to source alternatives but then so is the rest of the world). Of course it is morally wrong from our perspective but leaders also have to factor in the consequences on their own populations especially short term has there are no quick fixes on full substitution of Russian gas in the EU.

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | July 15, 2022 | Reply

  4. On the electricity side, at a conference yesterday, Fintan Slye is reported as saying “Even if Russia cuts gas flows, National Grid’s modeling shows the lights in the UK will stay on” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-14/france-s-nuclear-troubles-are-worrying-the-uk-ahead-of-winter

    As Nicholas says, a lot will depend on the weather: will it be a mild winter or one with lots of ‘blocking highs’?
    And, yes, a lot of people forget that gas CH generally depends on an electric pump.

    Comment by Peter Robins | July 15, 2022 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: