Natural gas arrives from many supply sources. The companies that ask us to transport it through our pipeline network (shippers) are incentivised so that every day they put as much gas into the system as their customers take out. This is called balancing. If the levels of gas brought on and off the network do not match, National Grid Gas System Operator can step in to incentivise shippers to balance the system.
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.