France

Natural gas market and infrastructure

France imports most than 98 % of its gas demand. The gas is imported from Norway (35 %), Netherlands (16 %), Russian Federation and Algeria (15 % each). The transport gas grid has a length of more than 37,000 kilometers and the distribution grid length is around 194,000 kilometers. 15 underground storages and 3 methane terminals complete the system.

Figure 1: Natural gas grid and storage facilities in France (source : http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr)

Relevance regarding the energy supply system

Contributing near 45 % to the national power generation, nuclear power takes a predominant role in France's energy mix. However, petroleum products (oil, natural gas) have a significance for the country’s energy supply (46 % twin). In 2010, 15 % of the gross energy consumption and 20.9 % of the final energy consumption were derived from natural gas.

Gas grid infrastructure data

The national French gas grid was state-owned before 2002. After 2002, the French state gave the exploitation of the transportation grid to 2 different companies: Total and GDF (named today GDF SUEZ), now GRTgaz, GDF SUEZ subsidiary. GRTgaz owns the transportation.
Natural imported gas arrives by pipelines from the northern and North Eastern border of France. Methane terminals are located one on the western coast and 2 on the southern coast. Natural gas is transported under high pressure into a transportation grid which is owned by two different operators: GRTgaz on the northern and south eastern part of France (connected to two different frontiers points in the East (near Germany)) and TIGF (Total subsidiary) on the south eastern part of France (near Spain); and the regional transportation grid for the alimentation of big industrial consumers and the distribution grid.
The agreement for the distribution has been given by the French state at GDF in 1946. Today the main DSO is GrDF (GDF SUEZ subsidiary) but near 30 local and independent companies also operate the distribution (list available via http://www.spegnn.com/2011_liste_adherents_web.pdf ).

The distribution grid is public owned and only operated and maintained by DSO’s.

CNG infrastructure data

There are about 140 filling stations in France but only around 30 have public access.The number of natural gas vehicles is between 10 to 12,000 vehicles (trucks essentially) among those : 8,000 light duty vehicles ; 2,000 buses ; 1,000 garbage trucks and trucks.