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Balance sheet for the gas system in 2013




Key facts:

  • In 2013, GRTgaz saw an increase of + 1.4% in gas consumption on its network in relation to 2012, owing mainly to colder weather conditions.
  • The consumption levels of industrial customers connected to the transmission network saw an overall increase of + 2% (excluding electricity generation), driven by certain sectors in particular (chemicals, refinery, glass, materials).
  • In 2013, GRTgaz managed its network in unprecedented gas flow conditions, marked in particular by the continued reduction in imports via LNG terminals (- 19.2%) and the decrease in the replenishment level of storage facilities (- 8%).

2013: a "cold" year, marked by a slight increase in industrial consumption (excluding electricity generation)

In 2013, GRTgaz observed an overall increase in gas consumption of + 1.4% on its network (467 TWh in 2013) compared with the previous year (461 TWh). When adjusted to allow for the influence of climate, consumption fell by - 2% (445 TWh in 2013 vs. 454 TWh in 2012).

The development in gas consumption can be explained by the fact that, on the whole, 2013 was a colder year than normal, with rather low temperatures throughout the first six months in particular. In contrast, 2012 had been rather mild, with the exception of a cold period around the month of February, which resulted in consumption peaks in the range of 3,400 GWh/day.

More specifically, the consumption by public distribution companies, which supply primarily the residential sector, saw an increase of + 3.6% in 2013 (310 TWh) compared with 2012 (300 TWh). When adjusted to allow for the influence of climate, the consumption of the public distribution companies fell by - 1.9%, due mainly to the improvement in the energy efficiency of heating systems.

As for the total consumption of industrial customers connected to the GRTgaz network, this figure fell for the second consecutive year (- 2.4%) to 157 TWh in 2013, compared with 161 TWh in 2012. This situation is mainly due to the continuation of the significant reduction in the consumption of cogeneration sites (- 17%) and electricity-producing gas-fired plants (- 19%). Within a context marked by the strong development of non-conventional gases in the United States, leading to increased competition within the European carbon market, the consumption of the electricity generation sites in France has plummeted by 50% since the end of 2011.

Excluding electricity generation, the consumption of industrial customers connected directly to the GRTgaz transmission network rose by + 2% in 2013. With a consumption of 129 TWh in 2013, the downward trend that began at the end of 2011 due to the severe deterioration of the economic climate appeared to be levelling off in 2013. This slight improvement concerns sectors such as the refinery (+ 22%), glass (+ 4%) and chemicals (+ 3%) industries.

A highly contrasting input/output balance sheet, which confirms the unprecedented conditions with regard to the use of the gas system

In 2013, GRTgaz managed its network in the midst of unprecedented gas flow conditions, marked in particular by a further decrease in the quantities of gas imported via LNG terminals (- 19%). The phenomenon of the reallocation of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to the more attractive Asian and South American markets is being confirmed. Between 2011 and 2013, imports of LNG fell by 45%, although France was not the country most affected in Europe. At the same time, onshore imports via gas pipelines have increased significantly by + 5%, compensating in terms of volume (+ 23 TWh) for the drop in LNG quantities (- 21 TWh).

More generally, outflow from the GRTgaz network fell - 12% on account of the decrease in flows to Italy (- 50%), although flows to Spain are climbing (+ 13%). With regard to the replenishment level of storage facilities on the part of GRTgaz, this figure also fell to a record low at the beginning of winter 2013-2014 (8% on 1 November 2013 vs. 1 November 2012).

In particular, this newly arisen situation has had the effect of intensifying the flows from the North to the South of France and increasing transit saturation between the northern and southern GRTgaz zones (+ 200 days per year).

Within this context, GRTgaz issued an alert to its shipping clients at the end of spring 2013 and put in place an 'info-vigilance' mechanism in order to prevent potential situations of tension on the network. Since this mechanism came into force, 12 days of orange alert were signalled between the end of November and the start of December 2013, without any effect on the general balance of the system.