The underground storage of natural gas
The underground storage of natural gas plays a key role in the security of natural gas supply, by satisfying seasonal peak demands and moderating the supply / demand gap. It contributes to creating an equilibrium between consumption and domestic gas production or imports, and to increasing the efficiency of the national gas transmission network.
The natural gas underground storage has the strategic role of ensuring the supply of natural gas from storage sites in cases of force majeure (calamities, earthquakes and other unforeseen events).
The new EU regulations go beyond the framework created in 2010 and require EU countries to work together to identify potential disruptions in the gas supply chain and to agree on common actions that can prevent or eliminate the consequences of the gas supply disruption. This has created a new principle, that of Member States' solidarity, which must reduce the risk of dependence on external sources.
The EC objective is to establish the necessary measures to ensure the continuity of gas supply throughout the European Union, especially for protected customers in the event of difficult climate conditions or supply disruption.
In 2017, a new European regulation on the safety of the natural gas supply was introduced to encourage the achievement of several objectives:
► EU-wide simulation, by ENTSOG, for supply disruption or failure of the system in order to identify the main risks at EU level regarding gas cut-off;
► Cooperation between the regional groups of the Member States to assess the common risks of security of supply and to develop and agree on joint preventive and response measures;
► Introducing the principle of solidarity according to which Member States should help each other to ensure that natural gas supplies are always guaranteed to vulnerable consumers even during the most severe crisis situations;
► Enhanced transparency: natural gas companies must formally notify the national regulatory authority of long-term contracts that may be relevant to the security of supply.
The underground storage of natural gas in Romania is considered to be a public service, a regulated activity and can be carried out only by operators licensed by ANRE for this purpose. Tariffs for underground storage are regulated and approved by ANRE. DEPOGAZ has the responsability to provide accurate means to fulfill its public service obligations.
DEPOGAZ holds a license for the operation of 5 underground natural gas storage facilities, developed in depleted gas fields, whose aggregate capacity represents about 90.23% of the total storage capacity of Romania.
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In order to ensure the security of supply, the current national legislation regulates the minimum stored reserve of natural gas for each supplier and market segment.