EA Ireland

EAI Responds to Proposed Changes to UK Gas Quality

EAI Response to Proposed Changes in UK Gas Quality

Originally published in our Industry Update Newsletter on 31st March 2022

HSE Consultation on Proposed Changes to the GSMR

Last week(March 21st 2022) EAI responded to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) consultation in the UK regarding a review of the Gas Safety Management Regulation (GSMR) and proposed changes to Imported Gas Quality within the UK Gas Network. 

As Ireland is highly reliant on the UK gas network for gas imports, the response highlighted the impacts of a potential change in Gas Quality and the risks these changes could pose Irish Security of Supply as we are more reliant on gas fired power generation than our British or European neighbours. 

Prior to the submission, EAI hosted a meeting and Q&A session with the HSE. The purpose of the meeting was to gain an overview of the proposed changes, the potential costs, and gain a sense of the timescale around the changes and transition periods.   

It was noted that the proposed changes are driven by strategic considerations there is no compulsion to change due to safety concerns. The benefits of such changes recognised by the UK Government are; opportunity to diversify supply of energy, potential economic benefit to communities. And a marginal benefit in reduction to carbon emissions due to less need for gas processing. Benefits will largely be felt upstream and costs largely felt downstream 

The recurring theme of urgency surrounding the Ukrainian war echoed throughout the meeting. Geopolitical strategy will likely have a strong influence on the decisions made by ministers for GSMR changes, accelerating timelines. Within GB, the current consensus is that industry will need 1-2 years to transition with some companies requesting an ideal transition period of 5 years. However unlike the UK, who have a more diverse supply to bridge the gap in any scheduled outages due to maintenance or technical upgrades, Ireland does not have the same capacity. Should changes reach as far as the Irish Gas Network, the EAI have suggested a transition period of 4 years to allow extra time for scheduled outages should upgrades to generators be necessary.  

It is still unclear as to whether any changes in gas quality will actually permeate the Irish gas network, and if changes are likely to enter the Irish system, when? 

Communication around all aspects of these changes was highly encouraged within the EAI response, as the importance of the  relationship of gas and security of supply is well understood as an integral part to the EAI’s vision of a decarbonised future. 

You can read the response in full by clicking the link here