On January 10, the National Natural Gas System exported natural gas through the Campo Maior interconnection, for the first time in its 22-year history. On that day, the total flow of gas in the VIP Ibérico (the virtual point that combines the capacities of the international interconnections) to supply the Spanish system was approximately one million cubic metres, having been almost fully transported through the Campo Maior interconnection.
The Campo Maior interconnection has a special meaning due to the role it played in the introduction of natural gas in the domestic market on January 31, 1997. The possibility of diversifying the supply sources was later reached with the entry into commercial service of the Sines Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal, in 2004.
The strong competitiveness of the Sines Terminal and the occurrence of a cold wave in Europe, especially in Spain, has led the market to use the national system as a gateway to Europe. This occurrence clearly shows how the competitiveness of the Portuguese system, combined with its geographical maritime location, may become a relevant entry point into Europe, especially during peaks of consumption, such as the one observed in January. As a reflection of this, the Sines Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal reached new highs in 2018, surpassing the previous maximums recorded in the tanker loading operations for energy fed into the RNTGN (Rede Nacional de Transporte de Gás Natural - National Natural Gas Transport Network). Another milestone was reached before the end of the year, on December 22, with the 500th ship entering the terminal.
Since the export of natural gas to Spain started at the end of October, the highest daily value for commercial exports requested by the market was 3.2 million cubic metres, recorded on January 16, which corresponded to 47% of the total capacity made available for export in the VIP Ibérico.