Regulatory information about gas transport and storage

Regulatory information about gas transport and storage

Teréga’s activities are subject to French regulations on the transport and storage of gas. This page sets out our legal obligations in detail.

Teréga’s public service obligations

As part of our gas transport and storage activities, we have to meet certain public service obligations in accordance with the legislation governing businesses operating in the gas sector.

Article L 121-32 of the Energy Code sets out those obligations. Under those, Teréga has a particular duty to guarantee:

  1. the safety of persons and installations upstream of the end consumer’s connection,

  2. continuity of the natural gas supply,

  3. security of supply,

  4. the quality and price of the products and services provided,

  5. protection of the environment, particularly the application of energy saving measures,

  6. energy efficiency,

  7. the use of biogas,

  8. balanced regional development,

  9. acting as a natural gas supplier of last resort to non-domestic customers providing services in the general interest.

Regulation of the gas market

In order to continue the process of liberalising the market, on 13 July 2009 the European Union adopted a set of measures relating to the internal energy market (electricity and natural gas), known as the “3rd energy package”.

It brings together the following regulations relating to gas and Teréga’s activities:

The legislation dealing with energy, including the provisions for the transposition of the 3rd energy package into French law, were grouped together in the Energy Code. The legislative part of that code came into force on 1st June 2011. The regulatory part, created by Decree No. 2015-1823 of 30 December 2015, came into force on 1st January 2016.

Regulatory information linked to gas transport

The construction and operation of gas transport pipelines, along with their associated infrastructures, are specifically regulated by the Environmental Code following Decree No. 2012-615 of 2 May 2012 relating to the safety, authorisation and declaration of public utility of pipelines transporting gas, hydrocarbons and chemicals (Articles R. 555-2 to R. 555-29 of the Environmental Code). Permission to construct and operate pipelines is granted by ministerial or prefectural order, as the case may be.

Consideration of such authorisations looks at the requirements associated with safety of the systems, protection of the environment and natural species, impacts on water resources (water law), urban development, historic monuments and archaeological areas. During the design phase, Teréga pays particular attention to these challenges and determines accordingly the route of least impact.

The Order of 5 March 2014 defines the arrangements for application of Chapter V of Section V of Book V of the Environmental Code. It includes regulations on the safety of pipelines transporting natural or similar gases, hydrocarbons and chemicals modified by the Order of 15 December 2016 which defines the arrangements for application of Chapter V of Section V of Book V of the Environmental Code. It includes regulations on the safety of pipelines transporting natural or similar gases, hydrocarbons and chemicals. It specifies the construction and operational safety rules applicable to pipelines throughout their life cycle.

That Order is based on a reference standard and approved professional guidelines which, among other things, impose the preparation of a hazard study on the existing grid, to be reviewed every five years, with systems being brought into compliance.

It also stipulates the establishment of a surveillance and maintenance programme which guarantees a full periodic examination of the pipelines. 

Changes in urban development are also taken into account: for every public access establishment which is created and liable to accommodate more than 100 persons, and in the event of new projects close to pipelines, Teréga must be consulted to determine any precautions or compensatory measures to be taken.

The Environmental Code, in the "Safety of underground, overhead or underwater transport or distribution networks” section (Articles R. 554-1 to R. 554-61), stipulates:

  • mandatory prior consultation of the Guichet Unique (“one-stop shop”) by project managers and those carrying out the work, to identify existing networks in the vicinity (Articles R. 554-1 and following),

  • an obligation on project managers and project owners to obtain information, by submitting planned work requests (DTs) to Teréga’s operational sectors, to ascertain the position and depth of networks, along with the technical constraints associated with their presence.

  • an obligation on all persons carrying out work in the vicinity of gas transport pipelines, having consulted the Guichet Unique (“one-stop shop”), to send a Declaration of Intention to Commence Work (DICT) to Teréga, a minimum of ten clear days before the planned date of the commencement of work.

It should be noted that, as part of the damage prevention reforms, an obligation of competence was established for personnel working in the vicinity of networks. Thus the skills acquired by an employee working to prepare or carry out works in the vicinity of networks will result in the issue by the employer of a Permit to Work in the Vicinity of Networks (AIPR). The AIPR is a mandatory requirement as of 1st January 2018.

The transport technical instructions inform you about the particular requirements with which the technical design and operation of third-party pipelines and systems must comply for connection to the Teréga transport grid.

Framework for the gas storage activity

Framework for the gas storage activity

Third-party access to underground natural gas storage facilities in France is governed by the Energy Code, modified by Article 12 of Law No. 2017-1839 of 30 December 2017.

The current legislative framework is based on the following principles:

  • the underground natural gas storage infrastructures needed for security of supply are provided by the Long Term Energy Schedule.

  • operators of those essential infrastructures have an obligation to maintain them in operational condition and offer third parties access to those installations under transparent and non-discriminatory conditions,

  • storage capacities of those essential infrastructures are traded in public auctions, the arrangements for which are set by the Energy Regulation Commission (CRE),

  • the CRE regulates operators of those essential infrastructures, by determining the revenue which will allow them to cover all the costs they bear arising from the operation of those essential infrastructures,

  • should the revenue from public auctions not allow the costs borne by operators of those essential infrastructures to be covered, then that cover is provided by the tariff for the use of those natural gas transport grids.

In accordance with its legal obligations, Teréga publishes access arrangements to its storage capacities on its customer portal. They include:

  • available storage capacities,

  • traded storage products,

  • the schedule for storage capacity trading,

  • public auction arrangements in place.

Information about capacity subscriptions is sent to the Directorate General for Energy and Climate and the CRE, authorities that ensure transparency and non-discrimination in third-party access conditions to underground natural gas storage facilities.

Certain installations at Lussagnet and Izaute are classified as Classified Installations for the Protection of the Environment (ICPE) due to the substances present and the activities undertaken there. This is particularly applicable to installations containing natural gas, whether on the surface or underground.

ICPEs are governed by the Environmental Code and particularly by Book V: “Prevention of pollution, risk and nuisance”, in the 1st section.

Underground installations are also subject to the Mining Code, with the exclusion of provisions relating to mining work (section VI) and administrative surveillance and the mining police (section VII), for which the Environmental Code now applies. The Lussagnet and Izaute concession rights are covered by the Mining Code; drilling and exploitation operations are covered by the Environmental Code.

Prefectural Orders specify the technical instructions applicable to installations.

The Lussagnet and Izaute sites are “SEVESO high threshold” classified establishments due to the quantities of natural gas stored there. A Major Accident Prevention Policy (MAPP) is defined and a Safety Management System (SMS) is in place.

The underground natural gas storage facilities are part of the systems for which Technological Risk Prevention Plans (TRPP) drawn up by the prefects are in place.

The objective of those plans is to control risks around so-called “SEVESO high threshold” sites by reducing the risks arising from installations and the implementation of urban planning control measures.

The TRPP sets out an urban planning strategy to suit the local situation, considering the risks presented by the industrial installation, after the implementation of reduction measures at source. It may define areas in which the following may be imposed:

  • land use measures applicable to the most exposed existing urbanised areas (right to non-development for example),

  • stipulations on the construction of existing and future buildings, such as the installation of blast-resistant glazing;

  • restrictions on future urban development (restrictions on use etc.).

The Lussagnet and Izaute TRPPs were approved by Prefectural Order on 8 April 2013 and 25 December 2014, and are currently in the process of implementation.

The storage technical instructions inform you about the particular requirements with which the technical design and operation of third-party pipelines and systems must comply for connection to the Teréga natural gas storage centre.