This paper describes a new gas transport planning methodology, developed after the switch from an integrated company to a separate Transmission System Operator (TSO). In addition, this paper highlights the major requirements for a gas network planning tool. In an integrated company (consisting of trade and transport) the trading arm determines the network usage. The separate TSO is deprived from information on trading contracts and has lost control over usage of transmission. Instead, the TSO has transmission contracts with many shippers (ranging from 50 to 100). The shippers themselves determine from day to day how to use the contracts. These shipping plans (within the boundaries of the contracts) are only known a few hours in advance, making it impossible to use as a design requirement. Therefore, the TSO must design the network based on other information indicating the future utilization of the contracts. Going to a decoupled entry-exit system creates additional challenges because the freedom of shippers is increased. Note that entries and exits can be contracted separately and that the contracted entry- and exit capacity does not necessarily have to be in balance. Of course, balance has to be maintained in the usage of these contracts. Shipper's portfolios do not give sufficient indications in which combinations contracted entry- and exit capacity will be used. This is because entry- and exit contracts, and gas itself, can be traded on a virtual hub (called a Title Transfer Facility in the Netherlands). Thus analyzing shipper portfolios does not reveal in which combinations the entry- and exit contracts will be used nor does it reveal how the contracts will be utilized. The new planning methodology estimates future possible use of the network, independent of shipper portfolios. The planning tool is able to optimize on various targets, such as cost.

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