Gasunie presents results 2016

Groningen | press release
  • Volume of transported gas increased to 1,236 TWh (2015: 1,170 TWh)
  • Volume of gas converted from high-calorific to low-calorific rose to 23.4 billion m3 (2015: 16.9 billion m3), helping to maintain sufficient gas supply for domestic households and companies after the reduction in the Groningen production
  • Reliability in gas transport almost 100%: only two short interruptions
  • Safety results improved slightly: number of reportable incidents per million hours worked 3.5 (2015: 3.7)
  • Revenues decreased to € 1,548 million (2015: € 1,631 million)
  • Impairment of € 450 million due to new method decision for GTS
  • Net profit declined to € 183 million (2015: € 553 million); proposed dividend payment of € 110 million to the Dutch State (2015: € 332 million)
  • Normalised net profit declined to € 521 million (2015: € 553 million)

More gas transported and converted

Throughout 2016, more natural gas was transported through the network of gas infrastructure company N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie. The volume rose to 1,236 TWh (2015: 1,170 TWh). Due to the production cap on low-calorific Groningen gas, substantially more high-calorific gas* from the Netherlands and abroad had to be made suitable (converted) for use by domestic households and  companies: in total 23.4 billion m3 (2015: 16.9 billion m3), the highest volume since 2003.

In 2016, Gasunie again achieved transport security of almost 100%. Transport in the Netherlands was interrupted briefly only on two occasions. No interruptions occurred in the German network. The number of incidents of pipeline damage decreased significantly, from five in 2015 to just one in 2016. This incident did not involve the release of gas. The number of reportable safety incidents per million hours worked declined further in 2016 to 3.5 (3.7 in 2015).

Decline in revenues and net profit

Revenues of Gasunie decreased in 2016 to € 1,548 million (2015: € 1,631 million), mainly due to efficiency discounts imposed by the regulatory authorities in the Netherlands and Germany and a decrease in the capacity sold. Net profit in 2016 amounted to € 183 million, a decline of € 370 million compared to 2015. The main reason for this decline is an impairment of € 450 million on the GTS network due to the new method decision for GTS. This decision by the regulatory authority, ACM, leads to lower tariffs and revenues for GTS in the period 2017–2021. Normalised profit, excluding the impairment, decreased by € 32 million to € 521 million, mainly due to lower revenues.

Gasunie proposes that € 110 million of the profit for 2016 be paid out as dividend to the shareholder, the Dutch State.

Gas infrastructure developments

In November 2016, at Gate terminal on the Maasvlakte, the third berth, especially for small vessels, was taken into use. These small vessels can supply LNG to shallower ports for further distribution in the transport sector. In December, Gasunie Deutschland and Open Grid Europe (OGE) completed the joint acquisition of the German jordgas Transport (JGT) from Statoil. As a result, Gasunie expanded its share in the German pipeline NETRA. This pipeline runs from the North Sea coast near Emden to the east of Germany, and transports mainly Norwegian gas. Gasunie is executing a multi-year replacement programme, which includes the replacement of gas receiving stations. In 2016, a risk-based analysis took place as part of the Operational Excellence programme. This has led to the decision to shift the focus of the programme from preventive to corrective maintenance. This will result in savings, as fewer gas receiving stations will need to be replaced.

The Netherlands now largest gas trading platform in Europe

For the first time, the Dutch virtual gas trading platform Title Transfer Facility (TTF) has become the largest and most liquid gas hub in Europe. This enhances transparent pricing and lower market prices for gas. In 2016, for the first time, more gas was traded on TTF than on the British National Balancing Point (NBP), in total 21,468 TWh (2015: 16,684 TWh). Besides an increase in the traded volume, the highest number of TTF traders active on one day increased from 138 to 143.

Scaling up innovative, sustainable energy solutions

To help accelerate the energy transition, Gasunie participates in the development of new projects in the field of renewable gases, heat and geothermal energy, and system integration. In 2016, together with Cogas, the Biogas Network Twente was realised, which enables the feeding in of green gas into the gas network of Cogas. In addition, in collaboration with SCW Systems, the construction of a gasification plant in Alkmaar was started. Here, wet biomass is converted into green gas and reusable raw materials. This is a highly promising technology, which could significantly increase the share of green gas. Another gasification project, also in Alkmaar, concerns Ambigo. This project aims to make biomass gasification applicable at an industrial, highly efficient scale. Finally, in 2016, together with the municipality of Groningen, Waterbedrijf Groningen and WarmteStad a letter of intent was signed to work on the joint development of a heat grid in the city of Groningen.

“In 2016, we transported more gas than in the previous year,” says Han Fennema, CEO of Gasunie. “The volume of natural gas we converted also rose. This shows that our gas infrastructure is fully deployed in the Netherlands and Germany, countries that are in the middle of the energy transition. In the Netherlands, we aim for our energy supply to be CO2-neutral by 2050. Gasunie supports this ambition, which requires far-reaching measures. By replacing fuels that emit more CO2, natural gas will still be able to contribute to the energy transition for a long time. Think, for example, of power plants, but also of shipping and heavy road transport. If we want to keep our energy supply reliable and affordable, we should not view the energy system as a collection of loose parts, but rather as a closely collaborating whole. Besides sustainable electricity, renewable gas will play an important part in this. As a chain in the new energy system, the gas infrastructure makes a valuable contribution, especially in terms of energy transport and as storage facility.”

* High-calorific natural gas or gas with a high calorific value. This gas contains a relatively large amount of higher hydrocarbons and therefore contains more energy than low-calorific gas.

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