New service strenghtens Northwest European gas roundabout
The quarterly auction of IRF services - a service that BBL Company has been offering since the end of last year - begins today. At this auction IRF will be offered for the month April/May/June 2011. The auction period starts today at 12:00 hrs and will last a week until Tuesday 1st March 12:00 hrs.
Interruptible Reverse Flow Services (IRFS) were effectively used for the first time in January 2011. In the auction for March 2011 all offered IRF volume was sold completely.
The IRF service allows gas transport to be booked from the United Kingdom to the Netherlands. This is not a physical gas flow but an "administrative" gas flow. It means that the capacity booked from England to the Netherlands is deducted from the physical gas flow from the Netherlands to England. This adds a new option to the gas roundabout of north-west Europe, enabling shippers to balance gas flows to and from the United Kingdom better.
Since 1 October 2010 the IRF service has been offered on the market via an auction system. Direct capacity was auctioned and sold for the last quarter of 2010. But before many shippers were able to make use of the service on a large scale, a number of measures had to be taken on the English side, amongst which the establishment of an Exit Agent and the signing of Ancillary Agreements with National Grid. In the meantime all the conditions on the English side to allow use of IRF on a larger scale have been met.
Willem Faber, Director of BBL Company, expects the new service to be used on a regular basis in 2011. "Now that the shippers have taken all the necessary measures, there is nothing to prevent them from using this extra flexibility in the BBL pipeline."