Oil Gas & Process

We operate throughout the UK, Irish and worldwide oil and gas markets providing our full range of professional abilities to ensure successful delivery of our project portfolio. Our reputation goes before us in terms of the delivery of oil and gas projects and ensures that we secure repeat business time and time again.

Ireland

Gas Networks Ireland (nee BGE) holds the transmission and distribution system owner licences in respect of the natural gas network. This 13,150km network includes:

  • Transmission (cross-country) and Distribution (towns) networks in Ireland
  • Two sub-sea interconnectors linking Ireland with Scotland. Interconnector 1 and Interconnector 2
  • An on-shore system in Scotland
  • A spur-line to the Isle of Man
  • The North-West pipeline from Belfast to Derry in Northern Ireland.
  • The Mayo-Galway pipeline, to bring gas from the Corrib field into the national grid
  • The South-North pipeline from Gormanston, Co. Meath, to Belfast to secure long-term gas supplies for Northern Ireland

The UK

Gas is delivered to eight reception points, or terminals, by gas producers.

The gas producers deliver gas to the terminals from offshore facilities at fields beneath the sea around the British Isles and through pipelines which connect to the UK from Norway, Holland and Belgium. In addition, recently commissioned terminals at the Isle of Grain and Milford Haven allow liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be delivered to the terminal by boat from producers all over the world.

After treatment, which includes checking the gas quality meets statutory safety requirements and measuring the calorific value (the amount of energy contained), the gas is transported around Great Britain through over 278,000 kilometres of iron, steel and polyethylene mains pipeline.

From the terminals, gas enters the national transmission system (NTS), which is the high-pressure part of National Grid's pipeline network, consisting of more than 7,600 kilometres of top quality welded steel pipeline operating at pressures of up to 85 bar (85 times normal atmospheric pressure, over 1250 psi). The gas is pushed through the system using 23 strategically placed compressor stations.

The NTS can supply gas to other countries via interconnecting pipelines to Belgium and Ireland.

The NTS supplies gas to UK end consumers from over 175 off-take points including large end users which are primarily large industrial consumers and power stations, who receive gas directly from the national transmission system rather than through a distribution network, and the twelve local distribution zones (LDZ) that contain pipes operating at lower pressure which eventually supply the smaller end consumers, including domestic customers

LNG storage facilities liquefy natural gas by cooling it to -160 degrees centigrade and store it in liquid form. They are situated in strategic locations close to areas of high demand or at the extremities of the network. Their key feature is their location and their ability to rapidly revaporise the natural gas, and deliver it to the National Transmission System (NTS). As a result, LNG storage is able to provide a peak gas supply to shippers and supplement NGG's network capacity. In addition, LNG Storage is used as a contingency against the risk of emergencies such as system constraints, failures in supply or failures in end user interruption.

Clearly there may be volatility in the future gas supplies and, hence, a need to re-engineer the UK’s gas infrastructure to accommodate this uncertainty. The UK has a disproportionately small amount of gas storage at present with which to ride out the peaks and troughs of supply. We can only store at present 4% of our annual gas needs, which can be compared with the 20-25% figure for some of our major European competitors. Gas storage is expensive to create and so a significant investment programme will be needed over the 10-15 years to redress the balance.

Underground gas storage can only be created in certain locations, the best of which are where there are deep salt layers. Gas travels slowly through pipelines and so it is important to locate the storage sites as close to population centres as possible. Cheshire is one such notable location.

Worldwide

The degree of uncertainty over the level of future gas demand is probably at its highest in decades. Total worldwide gas demand fell in 2009 as a result of the economic downturn. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global gas demand is forecast to grow by an average of 1.5% per annum through to at least 2030, with the majority of the growth coming from non-OECD countries.

However, the actual growth in gas demand will be influenced by a number of unpredictable factors including the strength and speed of economic recovery, future gas prices, government energy and environmental policies and the impact of new technology. Future gas supplies are equally difficult to predict. The world’s proven gas reserves are estimated by the IEA at 180 trillion cubic meters, with unconventional gas accounting for 4% of that total. Unconventional gas resources, a term that covers shale gas, tight gas and coal bed methane could be considerably higher than the IEA estimate but the impact they will have on local and international markets is not yet clear.

Adding to the pressures from increasing shale and other unconventional gas production has been strong growth in global LNG (liquefied natural gas) liquefaction capacity. Around 64 billion cubic meters (bcm) of new gas liquefaction capacity is due to be commissioned by the end of 2013, assuming no further delays in completing planned projects.

The global gas battleground for market share is still likely to be Asia, with increasing LNG supply capabilities into the region from the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Australia, along with increasing pipeline capacity into Asia, from both the Caspian and Russia. In addition, long term growth in shale gas production should play an important role not just in North America, but in Europe and Asia as well. Unconventional gas resources have the potential to change key aspects of the market, however that potential is currently unproven and subject to a number of uncertainties.

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Oil Gas & Process,

We operate throughout the UK, Irish and worldwide oil and gas markets providing our full range of professional abilities to ensure successful delivery of our project portfolio. Our…