The European Union (EU) is highly dependent on external natural gas supplies and has experienced severe gas cuts in the past, mainly driven by the technical complexity of the high-pressure natural gas system and political instability in some of the supplier countries. Declining indigenous natural gas production and growing demand for gas in the EU has encouraged investments in cross-border transmission capacity to increase the sharing of resources between the member states, particularly in the aftermath of the Russia–Ukraine gas crisis in January 2009. This article models the EU interconnected natural gas system to assess the impact of investments in the gas transmission network by comparing the performance of the system for scenarios of 2009 and 2017, using a mathematical optimization approach. The model uses the technical data of the infrastructures, such as production, storage, regasification, and exchange capacity through cross-border pipelines, and proposes an optimal collaborative strategy which ensures the best possible coverage of overall demand. The actual peak demand situations of the extreme cases of 2009 and 2017 are analyzed under hypothetical supply crises caused by geopolitical or commercial disputes. The application of the proposed methodology leads to results which show that the investments made in this system do not decongest the cross-border pipeline network but improve the demand coverage. Countries such as Spain and Italy experience a lower impact on gas supply due to the variety of mechanisms available to cover their demand. Furthermore, the findings prove that cooperation facilitates the supply of demand in crisis situations.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited