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Gas alert as demand and prices rise
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adam2
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Figures are in GWH and INCLUDE LNG. It would be even worse without LNG.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some figures on the prevailing view website are in GWH and others are in MSCM (as an APPROXIMATE conversion, 11 MSCM =1 GWH)

A reasonable estimate of daily winter consumption, based on actual figures in previous years, is about 300MSCM a day. Say about 3,300 GWH a day.

If the entire national demand had to be met from storage, currently at about 20,000 GWH, then it would be all be gone in about 6 or 7 days.
It is however unduly pessimistic to assume that the entire demand would have to be met from storage, we do after all still have some supplies from the North Sea, and it seems unlikely that ALL imports would be suspended.

The worst reasonably foreseeable scenario might be the suspension of most but not all imports and a consequent need to meet 50% of demand from storage. In that case we have enough for up to 2 weeks.

By declaring a state of emergency and somewhat restricting gas consumption, we might be able to reduce withdrawals to 1,000 GWH a day and thereby make the stock last up to 3 weeks.
There would be a considerable economic and political cost to pay if even fairly modest controls on gas use were introduced.

By enforcing severe restrictions on gas use, supplies could be stretched out for much longer, but so doing would probably require full martial law and simply shooting objectors.
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johnhemming2



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the end, however, it is about two things

a) Flow from LNG imports (not yet in the pipes)
b) What limits there are on LNG being injected and distributed.

As demand goes up that is the area where flow can be increased.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnhemming2 wrote:
In the end, however, it is about two things

a) Flow from LNG imports (not yet in the pipes)
b) What limits there are on LNG being injected and distributed.

As demand goes up that is the area where flow can be increased.


LNG can be turned back into gas and pumped into the gas network at a very considerable rate, sufficient to empty the LNG stores in a couple of weeks at most.
The medium range storage is the only other significant stock and this also can be emptied in about 10 to 14 days.

So the limiting factor is the actual amount of gas stored, not the rate at which it can be drawn upon.
The existing gas stores are enough for about 2 or 3 weeks of cold weather if combined with significant disruption to imports.
This is no cause for alarm whilst times are normal, but is clearly inadequate for any serious supply disruption.
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johnhemming2



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

adam2 wrote:
clearly inadequate for any serious supply disruption.

I think that is clearly true. Obviously it can be clear where any LNG ships are that are hopefully on the way to the UK.

The question, however, is how much we would aim to have stored in terms of weeks of supply. We do have a limited supply from the North Sea, I am personally a little concerned about how we are increasing demands from gas whilst having less gas security. The winter of 2005 almost went badly wrong, but if Milford Haven flow capacity is enough then the grid should be able to distribute the gas.
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fuzzy



Joined: 29 Nov 2013
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Location: The Marches, UK

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a shame no-one has invented a flammable solid we could just pile up next to a power station for when we need it.
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AutomaticEarth



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fuzzy wrote:
It's a shame no-one has invented a flammable solid we could just pile up next to a power station for when we need it.


You mean the black/brown stuff supplied by our very own mother Nature that smells nice when burned? Laughing

Funnily enough, we had a power station nearby in Tilbury (Essex) that went from burning coal to burning wood-chips supplied from Canada.

Turns out they ended up being unsuitable for this particular power station (there was a massive fire there some years back, and they rotted quickly.

In addition, I was informed by someone who worked there that it was actually more expensive to ship them here, and that the carbon emissions were higher when production and transportation were factored in, than just burning the coal that the power station had access to (although I can't substantiate that claim).

I'm all in favour of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, but not if it means major distruption due to reliance and gas supplied from elsewhere. What happened to all those gas storage facilities that use to go rise and fall when I was a kid that we used to have? They looked awesome Laughing
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adam2
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most of the old style gas holders have been scrapped. They would have been of relatively little use under today circumstances in any case. I have heard, but can not substantiate, that an old style gas holder would run a modern gas burning power station for less than a minute.

They were a relic of when gas was manufactured locally from coal. The rate of manufacture of coal gas was not quickly altered in line with changing demand, therefore local storage for a few hours to a few days local demand was required.

What we need now is seasonal storage, not day to day.
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fuzzy



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A big enough tank of LNG, well insulated, and a PV powered refrigeration plant to keep it stable, is all I can come up with now.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fuzzy wrote:
A big enough tank of LNG, well insulated, and a PV powered refrigeration plant to keep it stable, is all I can come up with now.


That would help, apart from the NIMBY factor, and the cost. Whom is going to pay ?

Might not even need refrigeration in fact. Cooling down to liquid methane temperatures is a relatively costly and complicated business, and it might be simpler to accept a small steady rate of boiling off. AFAIK the existing LNG stores at import terminals are not refrigerated.
Any such facilities would have to be located at existing LNG terminals of course.

Note the gas that boils off is not lost to the atmosphere, it is injected into the gas network and sold to consumers. Think of it not as a "loss" but as a minimum withdrawal rate.
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BritDownUnder



Joined: 21 Sep 2011
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

adam2 wrote:
Most of the old style gas holders have been scrapped. They would have been of relatively little use under today circumstances in any case. I have heard, but can not substantiate, that an old style gas holder would run a modern gas burning power station for less than a minute.


Quite true. I was under the impression that as well as being a tempting target for the IRA these gasometers were used for the town gas when each town had it's own gasworks. However I am sure that North Sea Gas would stored there for a while in the 70s and 80s.

Putting on my Professor David MacKay hat for a moment as I am working at a gas plant at present and one cubic metre of methane is 0.6 kg in weight at approximate atmospheric temperature and pressure. A 30 megawatt gas turbine will use approximately 20,000 kg of gas per hour. Given a gasometer will contain, say 30,000 cubic metres of gas then scaling up to a 2000 MW gas fired plant (not sure they get this big) it would quite easily get through all this gas in a minute. However a small town would probably get by for a whole weekend on the same volume of gas.

At university I remember being told that a 2000 megawatt coal power plant uses one tonne of coal per second. Sobering thought. A tonne of coal lasted our family all year in the 1980s for cooking, water heating and space heating.

A similarly sized LNG tank would contain liquid methane which may be around 1000 times as dense as gas. Having these dotted around the country might be a temping target for anyone with malicious intent.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Natural gas prices have increased somewhat over the last week or two, to about 1.6 UK pence per KWH.
There is nothing remarkable or concerning about such a price in itself, it has previously been higher.
It is however rather early in the season for prices to increase thus.

Stocks have increased marginally but still only amount to about 20,000GWH in total.
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