By Nora Buli
OSLO -Norwegian pipeline gas exports rose 3.3% in 2022, just shy of an all-time high though record volumes were sent to Germany, as the Nordic country stepped up deliveries to replace Russian supply, pipeline system operator Gassco said on Monday.
In total, Gassco delivered 116.9 billion cubic metres (bcm) through its 8,800-kilometre (5468-mile) pipeline network in 2022, up from 113.2 bcm a year prior, but short of the 117.4 bcm record set in 2017.
"The war in Ukraine has led to an increase in the demand for stable and reliable deliveries of natural gas, and the production of Norwegian gas is vital for meeting Europe's energy needs," Gassco CEO Frode Leversund said in a statement.
The focus for Norwegian suppliers in 2022 had been on delivering gas to eastern parts of Europe, particularly Germany, Alfred Hansen, director for system operation at Gassco, told Reuters.
"We have seen a clear supply record toward Germany and it would have been possible to deliver more, if there had been more capacity," Hansen added.
Norway primarily pipes its gas to receiving terminals in Britain, Germany, France and Belgium and late in 2022 also opened a new pipeline to Poland via Denmark.
Deliveries to Germany rose by 11% year-on-year to 54.8 bcm, while France saw an increase of 4.7%, Gassco said.
Supplies to Britain fell by 11.7%, as capacities were not fully utilised given suppliers sought to send gas east, Hansen said.
With the new delivery point in Denmark in full operation, this eastward skew was likely to continue in 2023, he added.
Meanwhile, 2022 also saw an increased focus on securing Norway's pipeline infrastructure, especially following the explosion on the Russian Nord Stream gas pipeline to Germany, which remains unsolved.
Existing cooperation between field operators, Gassco and the authorities has become even tighter and more coordinated than before, Hansen said.
"So, we have expanded our risk picture somewhat, changed a few things and we, too, have updated our thinking around pipeline inspections," he added.