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Annual report 2013

  • Nederlands
  • Engels

Minimising our impact on the environment
Some of our business activities – activities characteristic of the gas industry – have an impact on the environment. These include the laying of pipelines, the construction of gas installations, the pressurising, transporting and blending of natural gas, metering and regulating gas flows, reducing gas pressure and maintaining installations. Such activities require energy, and that brings with it the occurrence of emissions. In addition, substances we use to ensure the safe functioning of gas transport installations, such as glycol and lubricating oil, also affect the environment, as do the  activities in our offices, albeit a limited one.

We do everything in our power to keep harmful emissions to soil, water and air to a minimum, and we have a drawn up a policy with concrete environmental objectives that is designed to help us achieve this.

Certified environmental care
To guarantee that we take the environment well into account in relevant business processes, we have an environmental management system (EMS) that is certified to the ISO 14001 standard. To ensure compliance with this standard, our management system is checked annually by an external auditing agency.

CO2 emissions
It is our ambition to take a leading role in reducing CO2 emissions. In cooperation with a number of other companies, we aim to have in place CO2-neutral energy provision by 2050. In order to fulfil this ambition, we have set out a strategy with an interim milestone. This milestone is a 40% reduction of CO2 equivalents  by 2030. This is in line with related developments in Europe. We can achieve this reduction across the whole scope of the Green House Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol), as explained below. We will continue to observe the reduction target that we had already set for 2020.

In an absolute sense, our target entails a reduction of 124 kilotonnes of CO2 equivalents. Last year, we adjusted this target upwards, compared to previous years, from 93 to 124 kilotonnes. This is due to new insights into the calculation of the base year. A number of emission sources were not included in the original calculation, because they were not yet known at the time. But over the past few years, we have gained more, and also better, information about emissions. This is why we decided to adjust the total amount of CO2 equivalents for the base year 1990 from 478 kilotonnes of CO2 to 618 kilotonnes.

The emissions that we now understand better are ‘fugitive emissions’, such as small leaks of natural gas at connections or appendages. They are found at gas receiving stations, metering and regulating stations, and valve stations.

As of 2013, we have been reporting in accordance with the standard of the GHG Protocol. This protocol for greenhouse gases distinguishes three ‘scopes’, ranked according to the origin of the greenhouse gas. These scopes are:

Scope 1

Scope 1 includes all emissions that are a direct result of our own activities (e.g., the CO2 emissions of gas-fired compressors and engines used for compression; our own gas consumption for heating buildings and for the boilers at gas receiving stations). Scope 1 also includes the CO2 equivalents from methane emissions, and the emission of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are used in cooling processes.

Scope 2

Scope 2 includes the indirect emissions of energy that has been procured (e.g., from an electricity company). In our case, the CO2 equivalents in Scope 2 come mainly from the use of electricity for electrical compressors and for the production of nitrogen. Scope 2 also includes the electricity consumed in our offices and our installation buildings.

Scope 3

Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions resulting from our business operations (e.g., road, air and rail travel and energy required for producing the nitrogen we procure).

In 2013, a number of network operators in the Netherlands developed a new model for reporting CO2 emissions on the basis of the Green House Gas Protocol. We are applying this model as of the year under review. Since the model is not entirely the same as the model of previous years, our current report only includes the totals of Scopes 1, 2 and 3 when referring to years prior to 2013.

The total CO2-equivalent emissions in 2013 were higher than in 2012. This increase is mainly due to the fact that, since last year, we have come to understand our CO2 emissions better (as explained above). As of 2013, we have therefore adjusted our CO2 emissions upwards by approximately 90 kilotonnes. This adjustment does not apply to the years prior to 2013.

CO2 equivalents due to natural gas consumption rose by approximately 36 kilotonnes. Of this quantity, about half was due to the deployment of a flare on the LNG terminal at the Maasvlakte location. CO2 equivalents due to electricity consumption rose by 29 kilotonnes, due to the deployment of additional electric compressors.

Methane emissions

  Unit 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Methane emissions GUN Tonnes 6,111 6,480 6,740 6,705 9,514
Methane emissions GUD Tonnes 741 741 436 363 690
GU total Tonnes 6,852 7,221 7,176 7,068 10,204

Methane emissions in 2013 were higher than in previous years. This increase is also due to the fact that we are now able to measure fugitive emissions of natural gas more accurately. Fugitive emissions at gas receiving stations, metering and regulating stations and valve stations are measured on the basis of limited random checks at all stations. We measure all gas receiving stations separately. So far, we have mapped the emissions of 40 out of the 1,150 stations. In 2013, we also recalculated the emissions of the compressor stations.

In Germany, methane emissions rose compared to 2012. This is because, at two installations (Heidenau and Folmhusen), a number of tests had to be carried out for the purposes of commissioning activities. During these tests, the pressure had to be reduced.

Methane emissions not only occur in the form of fugitive emissions, but are also due to gas venting during maintenance work. Venting is needed to enable work to be carried out safely. Of course, we try to prevent these emissions as much as possible. (See below: Recompression for work on pipelines). Methane is also released when the compressors are started and stopped, and during the use of measuring equipment.

Footprint reduction

In 2013, we continued to investigate ways of reducing our footprint, and carried out various projects for this purpose, including an elaborate LDAR programme, which we carried out at our large compressor stations and the LNG Maasvlakte location. For this, we measured 22 locations and assessed a total of 421,000 potential sources of leaks. Gasunie Deutschland also carried out many inspections in the context of our LDAR programme. On the basis of these details, we will be able to take appropriate measures to reduce the number of identified leaks.

Measuring methods
There are several common ways of estimating fugitive emissions of natural gas, such as bagging, EPA21 and the Marcogaz method. However, these different methods yield different results. We measured our fugitive emissions by using the EPA21 method. In 2014, we will compare the different measuring methods to obtain more certainty about the accuracy of this method. In 2014, we will also carry out more emission measurements at stations and take further measures to reduce natural gas emissions.

Recompression for work on pipelines
We try to avoid venting gas during pipeline activities as much as possible. However, it is sometimes necessary to vent the gas so that work on the natural gas pipelines can be carried out safely. For some years, we have been using a recompression unit with which we recompress as much as possible of the gas that would otherwise have had to be vented, and transfer it to another pipeline. This reduces the amount of gas vented. In 2013, we recompressed almost 2.3 million m3(n) of natural gas, which is equal to 33 kilotonnes of CO2 equivalents.

Use of the mobile recompressor is rather costly: a minimum of some € 20,000 each time. The more gas that is recompressed during operations, the more cost-efficient this recompression becomes.  In 2013, we estimate to have saved nearly half a million euros on natural gas costs by deploying the mobile recompressor.

We apply various techniques to empty our pipelines of gas. The table below gives an overview of the volumes of natural gas that have been released using these techniques. 

Technique 2013
 m3 x 1,000 natural gas
Decreasing line pack 1,826*
Recompression 2,268
Flaring 0
Venting 1,152

* This is an estimate we based on switch programmes that we use during pipeline operations. These enable us to safely make pipelines gas-free and continue gas transport without interruption by means of re-routing.

In 2013, more gas was vented than in 2012. The main cause for this was that, during the dismantling of an unexploded bomb dropped during WWII, we had to vent natural gas in one of the pipeline segments for safety reasons. This released approximately 245,000 m3 of natural gas. In addition, we had to vent a pipeline segment when we were installing new equipment at the compressor station in Ommen (the Netherlands). This released approximately 240,000 m3 of natural gas.

The very diverse activities we carry out result in waste. In the light of safety considerations, environmental regulations, the need for good environmental care and maintaining good cost control, we naturally want to dispose of this waste responsibly. We comply with the regulations laid down in the Environmental Management Act and the various environmental permits that we obtain for our activities.

As part of our legal and social responsibility with regard to waste, we apply ‘Lansink’s Ladder’. Lansink’s Ladder states the priority with which waste should be managed: Prevention, Re-use, Recycling, Incineration and Landfill.

Waste 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
  (tonnes) (tonnes) (tonnes) (tonnes) (tonnes)
Hazardous waste
Gasunie in the Netherlands 1,804 1,494 3,135 2,632 4,2331
Gasunie in Germany na 22 59 50 41
Non-hazardous waste
Gasunie in the Netherlands 14,072 14,316 15,678 22,4952 16,029
Gasunie in Germany na 219 290 585 127
Disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous waste
Gasunie in the Netherlands 88.2% 90.5% 85.1% 89.2% 89.1%
Gasunie in Germany 70.0% 83.8% 83.2% 92.0% 75.8%
Gasunie in the Netherlands 7.5% 6.3% 6.5% 4.4% 1.7%
Gasunie in Germany na 9.5% 16.8% 7.9% 24.2%3
Gasunie in the Netherlands 4.3% 3.2% 8.4% 6.4% 9.2%
Gasunie in Germany na 7.7% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

na = not available/not registered
1 There are various reasons for the rise in the volume of hazardous waste in the Netherlands in 2013. Some condensation tanks underwent periodical cleaning, during which polluted water was released. In addition, pipeline segments were cleaned using blasting grit, which is processed as a hazardous substance. In projects and other operations, soil and rubble was released that was contaminated with asbestos.
2 An extra quantity of non-hazardous waste was released in 2012 due to the large number of projects carried out in that year.
3 Due to the sharp drop in non-hazardous waste at Gasunie Deutschland, the percentage of hazardous waste in the total amount of waste rose, although the quantity of hazardous waste itself did not. Non-hazardous waste (75.8%) was re-used in Germany as much as possible. Hazardous waste (24.2%) was burned completely.

In 2013, we disposed of a total of 20.3 kilotonnes of waste, which was less than in 2012. This reduction was due to fewer large projects being conducted in 2013.

The ever-diminishing availability of raw materials makes it increasingly attractive to use waste as semi-finished products. This makes waste valuable – although it also means that requirements regarding the separation of waste at source will be stricter than before. At our locations, waste such as chemicals, oils, fats and detergents are collected separately and then taken by accredited waste collection agencies to approved waste processing plants.

Approximately 9% of the waste collected comprises metal. Almost 95% of this metal waste was re-used in 2013. Metal waste is generated mainly during large projects and operations at our installations.

We try to keep waste incineration to a minimum. Waste separation methods that enable re-use are continually improving. As a result of this, a downward trend is noticeable in the quantity of waste incinerated in the Netherlands. In Germany, non-hazardous waste is re-used as far as possible while hazardous waste is incinerated.

We prefer to have the waste resulting from our operations in the Netherlands processed in the country itself, to prevent unnecessary transport. If it has to be processed elsewhere, we make it clear that the use of child labour in processing the waste is totally unacceptable.

Our own energy usage

Natural gas
For the transport of natural gas, we make use of gas turbines and gas motors. Many of these run on natural gas. We also use natural gas to heat gas at gas receiving stations (because gas cools off when pressure is reduced).  Finally, we use natural gas for heating our offices and utility buildings.

The amount of natural gas we transport and the fuel we use for compression depends, among other things, on the weather and the demand for natural gas. In 2013, as a result of the prolonged winter, we used 168.7 million m3 of natural gas, a small increase compared to the previous year.

Gas consumption 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Consumption in GUN (million m3) 115.4 132.0 82.7 89.4 104.4
Consumption in GUD (million m3) 34.2 44.6* 59.0 64.7 64.3
Total consumption (million m3) 149.4 176.6 141.7 154.1 168.7

 * Energy consumption in GUD was higher in 2010 (compared to 2009) because gas consumption at head office was included in the total for the first time.

We use electricity for the production of nitrogen (at the installations in Ommen and Kootstertille), for the compression of natural gas (in Grijpskerk, Anna Paulowna, Scheemda and Wijngaarden), for liquefying natural gas (at the LNG installation on the Maasvlakte), for the compression that is required for storing natural gas in salt caverns (Zuidwending), and for our offices and utility buildings.

Our electricity consumption in 2013 was as follows:

Electricity consumption 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Consumption in GUN (million kWh) 299.0 284.5 338.9 382.5 441.2
Consumption in GUD (million kWh) 5.8 6.5 6.7 7.3 7.4
Total consumption (million kWh) 304.8 291 345.6 389.8 448.6

In 2013, less electricity was needed for the production of nitrogen at Ommen and Kootstertille. Nevertheless, electricity consumption in 2013 increased compared to the previous year. There are several reasons for this. Since 2006, as a result of putting the new electric compressors into operation at the locations in Grijpskerk, Anna Paulowna, Scheemda, Wijngaarden and Zuidwending, electricity consumption for the purpose of compression has increased. In 2013, the compressors in Wijngaarden and Anna Paulowna in particular were deployed more often because of the long winter. Together, the installations at Scheemda, Zuidwending, Anna Paulowna and Wijngaarden used approximately 85% of the total volume of electricity. In addition, the LNG tank at the Maasvlakte site was refilled.

Water consumption
We mainly use water for the cooling process in our LNG installation at the Maasvlakte site, for cleaning purposes and sanitary facilities. In 2013, we used approximately 8.7 million m3 of surface water and 46,541 m3 of mains water. The consumption of surface water for cooling in the production of LNG in 2013 was significantly higher than in 2012, because the LNG installation was deployed more often for liquefying natural gas. In 2013, the mains water consumption at Gasunie Deutschland was 1,791 m3.