Facts and figures

 

  • How long is the German gas transmission system?

The gas transmission system of the transmission system operators, with a total length of about 40,000 km, forms the backbone of the gas pipeline system in Germany. These are the pipelines which are defined as “long-distance pipelines” by the German Energy Industry Act (EnWG). Natural gas distribution systems in Germany have a length of more than 470,000 km. The total length of the German natural gas pipeline system is in excess of 530,000 km.

 

  • How big are these pipelines?

Buried natural gas transmission pipelines on land have diameters up to 140 cm and cover distances of up to 6000 km. Offshore pipelines may have diameters of up to 120 cm and are up to 1200 km long.

 

  • How are gas transmission pipelines in Germany laid?

In Germany, natural gas transmission pipelines are always buried. With a depth of cover of at least 1 m, the pipeline is well-protected against external impact.

 

  • At what pressure are pipelines operated?

Onshore buried pipelines are operated at pressures of up to 100 bar. In the case of offshore pipelines, the pressure needs to be higher. These are operated at pressures of up to 200 bar.

In order to maintain these high pressures in the pipeline, compressor stations need to be installed at distances of about 100 to 200 km. The conditions in offshore pipelines are different. For example, the Nord Stream-Pipeline from Russia to Germany covers a total length of 1200 km without any compressor stations.

 

  • How fast does gas travel through pipelines?

Gas transmission pipelines are normally designed for a flow speed of 10 m/s, which corresponds to about 36 km/h.

 

  • How are gas transmission pipelines officially defined?

The core business of transmission system operators is defined by the German Energy Industry Act as "the transportation of natural gas through a high-pressure long-distance pipeline system, with the exception of upstream pipeline systems, to supply customers but not the actual supply of gas to customers.“ (EnWG Sections 3, 19).

 

  • How are the obligations of the transmission system operators defined?

The obligations of transmission system operators are clearly defined by sections 15 and 15a of the German Energy Industry Act (EnWG). The Act provides for the non-discriminatory, efficient operation of the gas transmission system in line with demand in order to ensure reliable energy supplies. In addition, transmission system operators are subject to information obligations and the obligation to produce a joint annual Network Development Plan.      

 

  • Why is natural gas seen as the primary energy of the future?

Natural gas is recognized as a safe, reliable, environmentally compatible alternative to other fossil fuels. Over the past 25 years, the increase in demand for natural gas in Germany and the EU has been stronger than for any other fuel. As a fossil fuel with extensive reserves and the lowest emission values during combustion, natural gas is also seen as the growth energy number one in Germany and the EU in the future. The reasons are the efficient, environmentally compatible expansion of infrastructure, improved availability and competitiveness, high efficiency, the safe transportation and use of natural gas and the lower capital expenditure for most applications in comparison with coal and oil products. In future, it is therefore hoped that the share of natural gas in primary energy consumption will continue to grow in Germany and Europe as a whole.