Belgium using less gas, but Ukraine situation sends transit traffic up

Belgium using less gas, but Ukraine situation sends transit traffic up
LNG-terminal (liquefied natural gas). Credit: Belga / Kurt Desplenter

Belgium consumed less natural gas in the first half of this year, but the amount transported was much higher, due to increased transit traffic linked to the war in Ukraine, according to gas network operator Fluxys Belgium.

The amount of gas consumed on the Belgian market between January and June this year was 88 terrawatt hours (TWh). This was 18% less than in the corresponding period of last year, Fluxys Belgium, which is listed on the Belgian stock exchange, said in a press release reflecting its first-semester figures.

Households and small/medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) consumed 49 TWh of gas, 18% less than in the first half of 2021. Consumption by directly connected industries was down 11%, and the quantity of natural gas supplied to electricity plants decreased by more than 25%.

Despite the drop in the quantities it supplied locally, the total amount of gas Fluxys transported during the period was 38% higher than a year ago. This had everything to do with transit traffic: the volume of natural gas transported from border to border practically doubled to 194 KWh.

"The geopolitical situation in Ukraine has massively changed the dynamics of the gas markets and the direction of flows," Fluxys Belgium said in a press release. "The demand for natural gas flows from Belgium to Germany and the Netherlands is particularly high."

Fluxys Belgium also confirmed that the Belgian gas stock, in Loenhout, was more than 90% full, as was announced on Tuesday. "Our underground storage installation in Loenhout," the only one in Belgium "was 92% full on 1 September," it said.

The gas network operator added that, in the short term, it wants to build an additional pipeline between Desteldonk and Opwijk, parallel to the existing one, "to strengthen the Zeebrugge-inland axis."

Fluxys Belgium is the Belgian arm of the Fluxys group. In the first half of the year, it realised a turnover of €287.4 million, over 4% more than in the corresponding period of last year, and a net profit of €41.1 million, a 7% increase.

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