Gasunie customers urgently demand capacity expansions in Dutch and German gas transport networks

Groningen | press release

In order to meet the customer demand for more gas transport capacity, Gasunie's transportation grid in the Netherlands and Germany needs to be expanded urgently. In the Netherlands demand for extra capacity adds up to 7%, whilst in Germany the Gasunie transport system will need to be expanded by as much as 40%. Meeting this demand would most probably require investments of 1 to 2 billion euros in total over the period 2011 - 2014. This could also trigger substantial employment in construction activity.

The capacity expansion figures are based on the results of the first Integrated Open Season, recently conducted by Gasunie's network operators Gas Transport Services B.V. (GTS, the Netherlands) and Gasunie Deutschland (Germany). In total 24 gas supply and trading companies entered into binding capacity agreements with the Gasunie-network operators. Of these customers, 12 have requested capacities in both the Dutch and the German Gasunie-grid. A number of customers also required cross-border gas transport connections. Of the customers in the German part of the Gasunie-network about 30% are new entrants.

Recent gas market evaluations show robust gas demand in the European Union and a need for more imports. The recent response to the Integrated Open Season underscores these evaluations. The strategically located Gasunie-grid plays a central role in facilitating liquidity, competition, and in meeting end-user needs. The required extra capacity is needed to connect new underground gas storages to the grid, to accommodate shifts in gas supply and transit flows due to falling EU production as well as to enable the increase in cross-border trade and international competition. As a result the Integrated Open Season makes a vital contribution to future security of supply. Of the total amount of new capacity at entry and exit points requested by Gasunie customers 50% is requested in the Dutch grid and 50% in the German grid.

On the basis of these capacity bookings Gasunie will now initiate technical studies in order to develop a cost-effective investment programme for pipelines and compressor stations. By bundling the capacity requests of customers, Gasunie will be able to develop an investment plan that maximises economic efficiency and minimises the burden on our immediate surroundings. For an investment decision planning permission and regulatory approvals are required. The final go/no-go decision is planned to be taken in the second part of 2010.

Investments of this kind and size must of course be made in an economically sound manner. In this respect the recent developments in the national regulation of gas transport in Germany give reason for serious concern. This is mainly because the achievable returns on the network are too low, also when compared to levels allowed in many other EU countries. Gasunie is in close contact with German authorities to identify and repair the regulatory deficits in order to be able to invest timely and thereby to meet market demand and dispel security of supply concerns.

In the Netherlands a wide range of pipeline construction activities on the basis of previous Open Seasons is already underway for several years, bringing along employment for approximately 15,000 persons. New investment projects based on the Integrated Open Season results could lead to similar employment effects.

Gasunie is a European gas infrastructure company. Our network ranks among the largest high pressure gas pipeline grids in Europe, consisting of over 15,000 kilometres of pipeline in the Netherlands and northern Germany, dozens of installations and approximately 1,300 gas receiving stations. Annual gas throughput totals approximately 125 billion cubic metres. We serve the public interest in the markets in which we are active and work to create value for our stakeholders.
Gasunie is the first independent gas transport provider with a cross-border network in Europe. We offer transport services via our subsidiaries Gas Transport Services B.V. (GTS) in the Netherlands and Gasunie Deutschland GmbH in Germany. We also offer other services in the gas infrastructure field, including gas storage and LNG. We consider the wishes of our customers to be of prime importance. We aim for the highest standards in safety, reliability, efficiency and sustainability. Gasunie Deutschland is a 100% Gasunie subsidiary and responsible for the management, the operation and the development of a long-distance pipeline grid in North Germany of around 3,100 kilometres. In total, Gasunie Deutschland employs about 210 employees. Due to its reliability and strategic location in relation to expanding international gas flows, the Gasunie network forms the core of what is called the North West European 'gas roundabout'.

For further information contact:
Gasunie: Chris Glerum, +31 50 521 27 89;, Gasunie Deutschland: Philipp von Bergmann-Korn: +49 511 640 607 2146

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