Gas is a natural resource whose composition can vary depending on its origin. Agreed-upon gas quality parameters with accompanied ranges which allow for the safe storage, transmission, distribution and use are of great importance, especially in an international context.
The need to address the differences in natural gas compositions was identified with the very first steps of gas market liberalisation in Europe. Harmonisation of gas quality specifications at the EU entry points and between EU Member States is fundamental to efficient and competitive trading.
The gas quality issue was raised at the first European Gas Regulatory Forum, also known as the Madrid Forum, back in 1999. The creation of EASEE-gas in 2002 was fully supported by the Madrid Forum and the European Commission and harmonisation of natural gas quality was identified as one of the core issues that the association should address.
With members from across the entire gas value chain, EASEE-gas gathers all the key actors, including producers and end users, needed in the discussion on gas quality.
In 2005, EASEE-gas issued a Common Business Process (CBP) with recommendations of natural gas quality parameters and ranges aiming to reduce and eliminate existing cross border quality barriers in Europe. The CBP, which is widely referred to within the industry, formed the basis for the development of the mandated European standard for H-gas quality (EN 16726 “Gas infrastructure - Quality of gas - Group H”) which was published first by the European Standardisation Body (CEN) in 2015. EASEE-gas continues to collaborate closely with CEN and other European stakeholders to improve this standard.
The transition to a climate-neutral society is both an urgent challenge and an immense opportunity. Renewable and low carbon gases and hydrogen in particular will play a key role in achieving this goal.
Repurposing the existing gas infrastructure for hydrogen transport is a low-hanging fruit in the development of the hydrogen market in Europe. It is a cost-effective and sustainable solution.
However, quality specifications need to be defined at EU level to ensure a safe transport of hydrogen and avoid trade barriers. These specifications need to be set by considering the different requirements for the production, transmission and end use of hydrogen and the technical characteristics of the gas network.