To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Opening up the Gas Market project by the Scottish Gas Network in 2016, on mixing different blends/compositions of natural gas in the localised Oban gas grid; and if he will make a statement.
Scotland Gas Network’s (SGN’s) Opening up the Gas Market project tested unprocessed Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) which had a gas quality measurement above the statutory upper limit specified in Schedule 3 of Gas Safety (Management) Regulations 1996 (GS(M)R). Through a controlled trial this gas was injected into the Oban network for a year. The project demonstrated that unprocessed LNG was safe to distribute and safe for consumers in the Oban network.
As a result of the rollout of the Oban project unprocessed LNG above the statutory limit, has been injected into the Scottish Independent Undertakings at Oban, Campbeltown, Wick and Thurso since 2015 under a rolling exemption from GS(M)R.
Following this, the Department has been working closely with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to review the regulation of gas quality as a safety measure through GS(M)R. The increased availability of imported natural gas and low carbon gas alternatives means there is a need to widen the specification of gas permitted under GS(M)R, provided that any change is demonstrated to be safe. Project Oban successfully demonstrated the safety case for amending the upper statutory limit.
The Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM) industry working group has proposed a series of amendments to the GS(M)R and a new IGEM Gas Quality Standard. HSE and BEIS intend take forward these and other changes to GS(M)R as part of a consultation in 2021.