In the present research, the main critical points of gas transmission and storage system of Latvia have been determined to ensure secure and reliable gas supply among the Baltic States to fulfil the core objectives of the EU energy policies.
Technical data of critical points of the gas transmission and storage system of Latvia have been collected and analysed with the SWOT method and solutions have been provided to increase the reliability of the regional natural gas system.
The Latvian natural gas system is interconnected with transmission networks located in Lithuania, Estonia and Russia. Natural gas commercial metering is provided by GMS “Karksi” (Estonia) and by GMS “Kiemenai” (Lithuania). Natural gas is supplied to all larger urban areas in Latvia. Natural gas is supplied to Latvia along the Latvian–Russian pipeline only during the warm period of the year (April–September), and it is accumulated in the underground gas storage facility in Incukalns. During winter, gas from the underground facility is delivered to Latvian customers, as well as transmitted to Estonia and back to Russia. There is also a connection to Lithuania. Out of the gas supply disruption risks that are assessed at different levels, the essential one with a trans-border impact potential consists in the insufficient technical capacity of Incukalns UGS. Given the current technical possibilities, IUGS cannot pass the gas volume required for the Baltic States to compensate the gas supply deficit. The paper performs system recovery analysis after selected critical events. The paper provides a report describing the steps to be followed in order to restore the gas transmission system to normal operation after selected critical events. A very significant region of the power system of Latvia is the central part of Latvia and Riga region, where both of Riga CHPs, as well as Riga HPP, is located. The restoration time of the gas system of Latvia depends on the gravity of the situation and damage in the gas system and may range from several hours to several days.
Currently, problems related to the operation and exploitation of safe gas distribution networks are deepening in Latvia and Eastern Europe, as the number of outworn underground gas pipelines is steadily increasing. It should be noted that there is a rather wide choice of technology and materials for gas distribution pipeline reconstruction, while at the same time there is no universal method that equally meets all possible work requirements. Therefore, it is an urgent task to understand the operational algorithm, while choosing optimal reconstruction option, classifying and determining the criteria affecting the choice, and determining the scope of each reconstruction method. For this reason, it is necessary to develop a scientifically based methodology for selecting the optimal method for the reconstruction of outworn gas distribution pipelines. Therefore, there are the following tasks that need to be accomplished: to carry out a complex analysis of reconstruction methods and factors determining the choice of an optimal gas distribution pipeline reconstruction method as well as perform the analysis of current state and development of gas supply network; to develop an algorithm for selecting an optimal gas distribution pipeline reconstruction method based on a multi-criteria approach; to develop a mathematical model for the selection of an optimal reconstruction method and scientifically based complex evaluation procedures taking into account technical and economic criteria; to analyse the interaction of the polyethylene gas pipeline with the steel frame during the post-reconstruction process using U-shaped pipe; to develop recommendations for the optimisation of gas distribution network reconstruction programmes. As a result of these tasks, a scientifically justified methodology for the selection of an optimal method for the reconstruction of the gas distribution pipes has been developed.
The European Union (hereafter – the EU) takes a strong position in the global fight against climate changes by setting ambitious targets on reduction of greenhouse gas (hereafter – GHG) emissions. A binding target is to reduce those emissions by at least 40 % below 1990 levels till 2030, which would help make Europe the first climate neutral continent by the mid-21st century. Consequently, the expected 2050 emission reduction target for the EU is 80 %–90 % below 1990 levels. The EU’s new economy decarbonisation framework – The European Green Deal – outlines and summarises Europe’s ambition to become a world’s first climate neutral continent by 2050. This supposedly can be achieved by turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities across all policy areas and making the energy transition just and inclusive for all.
The transport, and particularly road transport, is one of the most significant fossil fuel dependent segments of national economies across the EU. Oil dependency of all segments of the transport sector makes it the single biggest source of GHG emissions in the united Europe as well. Road transport is responsible for about 73 % of total transport GHG emissions, as Europe’s more than 308.3 million road vehicles are over 90 % reliant on conventional types of oil-based fuels (diesel, gasoline etc.).
However, there is a wide range of low-emission alternative fuels for all kinds of transport that can reduce overall oil dependence of the EU’s transport sector and significantly lower GHG in road transport. Among these alternatives a tandem of the natural gas and biomethane could be named as one of the most promising for short and mid-term transport decarbonisation solutions both in the EU and Latvia.