Other data regarding safety, chain responsibility and the environment


Keep promoting safety awareness
Our aim is to prevent any safety incident from occurring during our activities. We therefore apply strict rules on working safely and responsibly. We pay great attention to safety awareness to ensure that our employees apply these rules correctly. We have drawn up a top 10 of the most common risks involved in our activities and have indicated for each of these risks how they can best be avoided. These are our Golden Rules of Safety, which should always be observed during our activities and operations. These rules are available in Dutch, German, English, French, Italian, Spanish and Polish. The rules contribute to raising risk and safety awareness in order to prevent unsafe situations. They make it very clear that there are certain lines that may never be crossed.

Prevention is better than cure
We take a proactive approach to preventing accidents at work, with regard to both our own employees and employees of third parties. Everyone who works for us is obliged to comply with the laws and regulations and our own additional requirements. Moreover, when accidents, incidents and dangerous situations are reported, we determine what measures need to be taken to prevent such incidents from happening in the future. The Safe@Gasunie Experience inspired us to research whether incident investigation based on the safety buffer from the Experience contributes to a better analysis and supported improvement measures from an incident investigation. We devote considerable attention to creating a healthy and safe working environment, both in our offices and in the field. Our manuals include rules and procedures for this purpose, from rules relating to ergonomic workstations for office staff to the conduct of employees working in the field.

Procedures and compliance
The procedures and instructions in relation to performing work on the gas transport system (gas jobs) are being optimised in terms of workability, comprehensibility and consistency. Gas jobs involve activities with a high risk profile that must be managed by means of clear and clean-cut performance of the work. After this improvement in relation to gas jobs, it will be decided - on the basis of risk - what procedures and instructions for other activities will be optimised.

European benchmark for pipeline incidents (EGIG)
European gas transport companies register their pipeline incidents in the same way, allowing their performance to be mutually comparable. Registration takes place within the European Gas Pipeline Incident Data Group (EGIG), which registers both pipeline lengths and pipeline incidents with gas leaks. This data is used to determine the ‘failure frequency’. This is the frequency (per 1,000 km per year) of pipeline incidents with gas leaks due to, for instance, excavation activities, corrosion, construction defects and material defects. With regard to pipeline incidents with gas leaks, we score slightly better than the European average. In the past few years, the sector’s performance has steadily improved. In 2018, the average score for Gasunie was approximately 0.11 incidents per 1,000km per year.

* The EGIG average for 2018 was not yet known at the time of publication.

Graph: 5-year moving average failure frequency.

Hazard identification and risk assessment

In 2018, we started performing actions in the Plan of Action from the 2017 HIRA, such as the further assessment of the risks of exposure to hazardous substances and electromagnetic fields, more attention to psychosocial work stress as part of the comprehensive health policy and the introduction of a periodic occupational health examination based on the risks of the job.

Occupational hygiene

Employees may be exposed to hazardous substances in the transport of natural gas and related activities. We treat these with great care. Some of these substances are naturally present in the gas transport system, while others are used during maintenance activities, or in operating facility equipment at our offices, for instance. The hazardous substances we use are registered in a central database (Toxic). Based on the activities started in 2017 to reduce the use of hazardous substances, the use of 182 hazardous substances was discontinued in 2018, 68 of which were qualified as CMR (carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic).

Various measurements were conducted in 2018 of exposure to noise, electromagnetic fields and hydrogen cyanide gas (coming from mine dust). As a follow-up to these measurements, a number of improvements were proposed to limit exposure. For noise in gas receiving stations, recommendations were made in relation to performing maintenance, for insulating the natural gas pipes. Concerning electromagnetic fields, awareness must be raised about the risks faced by people with pacemakers. The results of the hydrogen cyanide gas measurements did not prompt any changes to the current instruction.

A supplementary package of personal protective equipment (PPE) was adopted in 2018. PPE that does not appear on this list can only be purchased after review by the Safety department. Following an extensive investigation of exposure to mercury and benzene fumes, it was also decided that fresh air hoods would be used instead of full face masks. Fresh air hoods are easier to use and provide better protection. They were delivered to Gasunie at the end of 2018.

Incidents in 2018

In 2018, the number of reportable incidents increased to 17 (2017: 16). More information on this is given in the Safety results section. The table below shows the total number of incidents that occurred involving Gasunie employees, including incidents involving contractors’ employees while carrying out work for Gasunie.

Number of reportable incidents*            
Reportable incidents resulting in absence            
- Gasunie-employees 1 1 2 2 2 4
- Third parties 4 1 5 3 0 3
Reportable incidents not resulting in absence            
- Gasunie-employees 4 0 4 3 2 5
- Third parties 5 0 5 5 0 5
Total reportable incidents 14 2 16 13 4 17
Frequencyindex reportable incidents            
(number of incidents per 1 million hours worked)            
Reportable incidents resulting in absence            
- Gasunie-employees 0.4 2.5 0.7 0.8 5.2 1.4
- Third parties 2.1 4.8 2.4 1.5 0.0 1.4
Reportable incidents not resulting in absence            
- Gasunie-employees 1.6 0.0 1.4 1.2 5.2 1.7
- Third parties 2.6 0.0 2.4 2.5 0.0 2.3
Total reportable frequentie-index 3.2 3.3 3.2 2.9 6.7 3.4

* Currently, Gasunie cannot provide a gender breakdown for health and safety data, because gender is not quantitatively registered in our Accident reporting system.

Reportable incidents can be categorised as follows:

Fatal incidents
This is an incident that causes a fatality. In 2018, there were no work-related fatalities among Gasunie employees or external employees.

Reportable incidents resulting in absence
An incident involving injuries whereby the injured person does not resume work within 1 working day (24 hours) and an incident with other work is not involved.

Reportable incidents not resulting in absence
An incident involving medical treatment or injuries whereby the employee is capable of performing replacement work within 24 hours.

CO₂ emissions according to the GHG Protocol

We report in accordance with the standard of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol). This protocol for greenhouse gases distinguishes various groups (scopes), ranked according to the origin of the greenhouse gas.

Emission source 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
(in kilotonnes of CO2 equivalents)          
Lease and company cars 3 4 5 4 4
Gas consumption in buildings 1 2 2 2 2
Network losses 210 195 181 124 129
SF6 - - - - -
Gas consumption in installations 165 142 119 124 119
Emergency generators - - - 0 0
Refrigerants - - - 6 1
Total of scope 1 379 343 307 260 255
Heating in buildings - - - - -
Electricity consumption in buildings 3 3 4 3 2
Electricity consumption in installations 161 236 313 267 163
Total of scope 2 164 239 317 270 165
Business, air and train travel 1 1 1 1 1
Commuting 1 1 1 2 1
Procurement of N2 3 78 113 112 108
Total of scope 3 5 80 115 115 110
Total net scope 1 + 2 + 3 548 662 739 645 530
Greening bij Gos     78 247 358
Total gross scope 1 + 2 + 3 548 662 817 892 888

Gasunie is buying in a percentage of its electricity more sustainably. The table reports both the gross and net CO2 equivalents. Gross CO2 equivalents have not been corrected for electricity bought in sustainably (using Guarantees of Origin).

Scope 1
Scope 1 includes all emissions that are a direct result of our own activities (e.g. the CO
2 emissions of gas-fired compressors and engines used for compression, and our own gas consumption for heating buildings and for the boilers at gas receiving stations). This category also includes the CO2 equivalents due to methane emissions, and the emission of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are used in cooling processes.

Scope 2
Scope 2 includes the indirect emissions of energy we have procured (e.g. from an electricity company). In our case, the CO2 equivalents in Scope 2 come mainly from the use of electricity for electrical compressors and for the production of nitrogen. Scope 2 also includes the electricity consumed in our offices and our installation buildings.

Scope 3
Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions resulting from our business operations (e.g. road, air and rail travel and energy required for producing the nitrogen we procure).

From consumption to CO₂ equivalents

The table below shows the calculation of the CO2 equivalents for 2018 for the largest sources of emissions, broken down by country (the Netherlands and Germany). The conversion factor for electricity consumption is based on the statement from the energy supplier (2017 fuel mix). The conversion factor for the network losses is derived from the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report ‘Climate Change 2007’ (Direct Global Warming Potential, Methane, time horizon 100 years).

From consumption
to CO2-equivalenten
Unit Consumption   CO2-equivalents Greened with kiloton CO2-equivalents  
    GUN GUD conversion factor certificates GUN GUD
Scope 1              
Network losses tonnes methane  4,712   470  25 kg CO2/kg CH4 0%  117.8   11.7 
Gas consumption in buildings and installtions million m3 methane  50   22  circa 1,8 kg CO2/m3 0%  90.4   30.3 
Mobility (own) fuel          3.8   0.1 
Other various          0.7  -
Subtotal            212.7   42.1 
Scope 2              
Electricity consumption Netherlands / Participations million kWh 645/116   0,56/0,44 kg CO2/KWh 60% 144,4/20,5  
Electricity consumption GUD million kWh    8  0 kg CO2/KWh 100%   0
Subtotal           144,4/20,5 -
Scope 3              
Procurement of N2 miljoen kWh 391 - 0,56 kg CO2/KWh 50.5%  108.4   
Mobility (third parties) fuel       17%  1.9   0.2 
Subtotal            110.3   0.2 
Scope 1+2+3            487.9   42.3 

NOₓ emissions

Our NOX emissions over the past 5 years were as follows:

NOx emissions 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
(in tonnes)          
Netherlands  130   89   70   83   95 
Germany  40   47   29   29   29 
Total  170   136   99   112   124 

Our NOx emissions decreased over the past years until the end of 2016. This decrease was due to the fact that electrically-powered compressors are being used instead of gas-powered compressors. In 2018, NOX emissions increased compared to 2017 because of the use of the Spijk compressor station. The Spijk compressor station was subject to increased use because of the reduced production from the Groningen field.

Natural gas consumption

Our natural gas consumption over the past 5 years was as follows:

Gas consumption 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
(in million m3)          
Netherlands  67.1   51.3   50.4   53.1   49.7 
Germany  27.8   31.2   23.5   22.1   21.5 
Total  94.9   82.5   73.9   75.2   71.2 

Our natural gas consumption depends in particular on the demand for natural gas and the weather conditions during the year. It is striking that natural gas consumption has decreased over the past several years. This decrease can be accounted for in part by the increased use of electrically-powered compressors.

Electricity consumption

Our electricity consumption over the past 5 years was as follows:

Electricity consumption 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
(in million kWh)          
Netherlands  431.3   548.9   685.9   690.2   763.9 
Germany  5.8   6.9   7.3   7.5   8.5 
Total  437.1   555.8   693.2   697.7   772.4 

Our electricity consumption depends on the use of our electrically-powered compressors and the energy required for nitrogen production. A small percentage of the electricity consumption is required for our offices. Around 10% more electricity was used in 2018 compared to 2017. This higher consumption was due to the electrically-powered compressors and the energy required for nitrogen production.

Environmental irregularities

We keep records of environmental irregularities in order to learn from these and, where possible, take adequate action to limit environmental damage in the future. The number of environmental irregularities reported for Gasunie in the Netherlands and Germany was:

Environmental non-compliance 2017 2018
Deviations from laws and regulations - -
Deviations from environmental care systems - -
Environmental incidents 54 61
Environmental complaints 103 133
Total  157   194 

The 194 environmental irregularities consist of 61 environmental incidents and 133 environmental complaints reported by third parties. These environmental complaints included:

  • 12 complaints in which Gasunie was not involved. These usually concerned pipelines of companies that connect directly to Gasunie’s network;
  • 18 complaints where we ourselves ascertained no irregularity.

The large majority of the environmental irregularities are reports from third parties about the smell of gas or minor leaks.

Significant fines for non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations

Gasunie received and paid two fines in 2018, to the amount of € 18,143. These were fines imposed by the Dutch Emissions Authority (NEa), imposed for failure to submit data to the NEa on time concerning the CO2 emissions trade for the year 2015.

Socially responsible procurement

Socially responsible procurement is defined at Gasunie as ensuring that the products or services purchased by an organisation have the least possible negative impact and highest possible positive impact in terms of environmental, social and economic aspects.
Socially responsible procurement addresses questions about a sustainable supply chain: What is going on at our suppliers? Where do our raw materials come from? Who manufactures our products and how?

This supply chain responsibility focuses on the national and international supply chain. Part of tendering and contract management is determining how the objectives for socially responsible procurement are pursued. There are many ways of doing this, and they will differ significantly for each category of goods. The overarching theme of socially responsible procurement at Gasunie is therefore supply chain responsibility.

In fleshing out the concept of supply chain responsibility, the following three themes have been defined at Gasunie in relation to socially responsible procurement; products and/or services bought in are assessed in light of these themes:

  1. Environmental and energy aspects at third parties
    This concerns energy usage in the production of a product, for instance, but also the environmental impact (CO2 emissions, damage and pollution to soil/water/air, water consumption, etc.). When products and services are purchased, tendering instruments such as the CO2 performance ladder can be used to assess suppliers of products and services for energy usage and environmental impact.
  2. Social aspects
    Social aspects include social return (creating more employment for people with poor job prospects) as well as social conditions (human rights, good working conditions and a living wage). In order to create more employment for people with poor job prospects, buyers can, when placing contracts, encourage/require contractors to include vulnerable groups on the labour market in the performance of a contract (implementation of the Participation Act).​​​​​​​
  3. Circularity and recycling
    In a circular economy, the wastage of raw materials is combated by maximising the reusability of products and materials and minimising value destruction. The essence of a circular economy is to preserve value, both in terms of ecological value (no wastage of raw materials) and financial value (reducing losses).

The procurement department safeguards that products and services that are bought in are suitable for high-quality recycling by making agreements on this with the supplier. Preserving the value of the products and materials is crucial to this. Dealing proactively with situations in which the technical life of an asset will exceed its economic life, by anticipating a possible second life for an asset, for instance, can help prevent value destruction. The aim is to produce as little waste as possible at the end of a product’s useful life and to recycle wherever possible.

Our point of departure in socially responsible procurement is to tie in with our strategy and the CSR policy. A concrete example of this is that 60% of the electricity used in 2018 was green power. In increments of 20%, we will move towards 100% in 2020. Our ambition is for our efforts to ensure that we maintain a level comparable to that of other TSOs in Europe.