Bonn · Despite discussions about Russian gas supplies, the shift away from Dutch L-gas in Bonn is going ahead as planned. The federal government is mandating conversion to H-gas, which is sourced mainly from Russia, by 2029. This is expected to come out of the pipelines in Beuel in just a few months.
A halt to natural gas deliveries from Russia would initially have no impact on households in Bonn. However, significant price increases would have to be expected. This is the current assessment of the municipal utility company SWB. “If there were to be a shortage in Germany, special ‘scarcity of gas supply’ plans would take effect, and this means large industrial plants or other commercial plants that could be shut down would first be taken out of the pipeline," deputy city spokeswoman Veronika John tells our editorial team.
Up to now, the municipal utilities have obtained most of their natural gas from the Netherlands and northern Germany, as do all suppliers in northern and western Germany. It is purchased via wholesale companies. John reports that long-term supply contracts are in place. However, some of the natural gas required in the future will have to be purchased at the current high prices. In other words, rising natural gas prices are inevitable in the interim. SWB does not make public how much gas it distributes.
The federal government has mandated the switch to H-gas
Reserves of so-called "low-calorific gas" (L-gas) with a lower methane content and calorific value will run out in the coming years, scheduled to be completely out in the fall of 2029. For this reason, years ago the German government stipulated in the Energy Industry Act that all gas appliances in North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse and Lower Saxony must be converted to “high-calorific gas" (H-gas). This is currently sourced mainly from Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Installers from the municipal utility subsidiary BonnNetz are currently working in the Bad Godesberg district to survey all heating systems, gas stoves and gas ovens and to check their technology, reports John. This has already been completed in the other three districts. Starting in June, conversion of all gas devices in Beuel is to take place with further local inspections. In the worst case, the burner of old systems must be replaced to ensure safe operation. On October 5, H-gas is to come out of the pipes in Beuel.
Even though the EU now wants to reduce gas supplies from Russia by two-thirds by the end of the year and the threat of a stop to Russian supplies is at play, the municipal utilities do not see any other options: "BonnNetz has no influence on the changeover dates and must complete all work on time according to the changeover schedule," emphasizes press spokeswoman John.
Experts talk about alternatives
The conversion was not without alternatives: Technically, it would have been possible to add air or pure nitrogen to the new H-gas and thus reduce its calorific value, report experts from Gas- und Wärmeinstitut Essen e. V. This would have allowed the old equipment to continue running. Politicians decided otherwise. Despite Russia's dominance of the gas market, however, dependence is not complete. The natural gas fields off Norway and in the North Sea off the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Denmark also supply H-gas.
Orig. text:Martin Wein