WOC 4: Distribution

This is the portal for WOC 4 activities in the 2012 - 2015 triennium. It is used for sharing information and storing documents.





Gas distribution covers the part of the gas production and delivery system that is most visible to the end client, as this is the part they have contact with. To encourage clients to choose gas as their source of energy, it is important that gas distribution services are perceived as being competitive and of top quality. This must continue to be the case even after economic environments have changed. WOC 4 will examine some of the changes in progress and how these can be exploited to help further improve services.

In many countries, regulations are becoming increasingly important and affect not only gas transportation but also gas distribution systems. Distribution requirements however, differ from transport requirements thereby making it more difficult to leverage market regulations and liberalisation to maintain promising economic distribution prospects. Some of the requirements include:

  • Third party access is a pre-requisite in many countries, but the conditions often vary enormously from country to country;
  • Regulatory authorities are also demanding that services be unbundled on a distribution level, despite the fact that they usually comprise a far more detailed grid structure;
  • Diversified gas supplies: moving away from a single or possibly dual quality gas supply distribution grid to a multiple supply grid with many entry points;
  • The political decision-making trend is to move towards carbon-free energy supplies leading to other regenerative sources of methane gas supplies and even to non-carbon combustible gases in the system;
  • In order improve the quality of customer service, more electronic measuring equipment and control tools are being introduced, called "smart grids". Industry personnel will require appropriate training and
    qualifications to use such tools.

WOC 4 will conduct studies to assess the factors that will have an impact on our immediate future. The study findings will be published in the form of recommendations applicable to all gas distribution companies worldwide, leading to the development of a code of conduct for dealing with the regulatory authorities, best practices for managing new supply situations, and solutions to enhance the technical abilities of distribution companies.

During this triennium, WOC 4 will carry out three studies:


Study Group 4.1 (SG 4.1)

Regulation of Third Party Access to Gas Distribution Networks – A Standard Approach


In most member countries, national Governments have introduced regulatory measures that affect the entire energy industry. This Study Group will examine how the regulation of third party access to gas distribution networks has been developed over the past decade, with emphasis on different developments in the member countries such as for example:

  • Access of gases other than natural gas
  • Development of marketing/charging areas
  • Change of energy balance and cost transfer options
  • Unbundling of distribution companies
  • Personnel training and qualification
  • Other elements.

The long-term objective is to develop an "IGU Network Code".


Study Group 4.2 (SG 4.2)

Diversification of Gas Quality and Nonconventional Sources in a Carbon-free Future


For decades, the source of natural gas supplies to given locations remained unchanged. Generally, distribution grids comprised one or possibly two sources of supply, based on long-term delivery contracts. In many parts of the world, this is no longer the case. The situation has changed over the past few years and is continuing to change. The reasons for this change are multiple:

  • Growing diversification of gas quality
  • Different sources of supply due to short-term contracts
  • Change between pipeline-based and LNG-based supplies
  • Development of local gas fields (e.g. shale gas)
  • Increasing injection of gases from non-conventional sources in a move towards a carbon-free future
  • Bio-methane
  • Hydrogen
  • SNG

This Study Group will examine the different options available for managing this diversification of gas quality, and ways distribution companies can address this growing challenge to secure stable gas supplies for
their customers. 

Study Group 4.3 (SG 4.3)

Smart Grids in Gas Distribution


"Smart grids" are a widely discussed issue in the gas industry. Based on smart gas meters that were the object of a WOC 4 Study Group during last triennium, this Study Group will examine the options available for further developing smart gas distribution grids.

  • Are smart grids feasible for a distribution grid at a reasonable cost?
  • Is smart gas distribution grid development likely to be coherent with electric power grids?
  • Are clients ready for smart grids?
  • Do personnel have the appropriate training?

IGU Working Committee 4; Distribution triennium report