Balancing Focus Area

The Balancing Focus Area will explore how the rules that incentivise balancing supply and demand may need to evolve as the gas landscape continues to change.

Natural gas arrives in GB from many sources, such as offshore gas fields in the North Sea, direct pipelines from countries such as Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands, and large liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers. The companies that use this gas and transport it through our pipeline network are called gas shippers. Similarly, there are many industries, businesses and homes that consume this gas. Shippers are incentivised so that every day they put as much gas into the system as their customers take out. This is called balancing. 

Growing variability in where and how gas is brought on and off the network has led to an increase in within-day linepack swings and balancing related operational actions. National Grid’s GFOP work predicted that this would continue. Given the network was originally designed for flows at a constant rate (1/24th), there is a case to look at various aspects of balancing: shipper incentives to balance, the role of linepack in operational balancing, commercial services that could be offered by operators of flexibility etc. 

National Grid Gas Transmission in collaboration with industry, decision makers and stakeholders are working together on the Balancing Gas Markets Plan (GMaP). Through this engagement it was agreed to expand the project definition as to also incorporate Transmission Capacity Access arrangements due to the intertwined nature of both the Balancing and Capacity Regimes to ensure the gas system and markets continue to deliver consumer value throughout the UK’s transition to a net-zero future.


Balancing GMaP completed projects

GB Gas Balancing Regime Review

The first balancing GMaP project has investigated the current UK gas balancing arrangements against the likely transformations, and their impacts, over the coming decade, to ensure that balancing arrangements remain appropriate and are able to deliver upon their intended purpose.

The review has focused on the increasing nature of within-day linepack swing experienced within the gas system; predominantly driven by the mismatch between supply and demand at the within-day timeframe and the changing dynamics of gas-to-power moving from a predominately steady baseload provision to that of peaking activity.

Therefore, this review has looked to provide several concepts, to start discussion and debate within industry, that could be deployed to mitigate the levels of linepack swing experienced at the within-day timeframe in both the short and long term.

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