Solid first half year of 2015 for Gasunie

Groningen | press release
  • Revenues of € 876 million were in line with first half of 2014.
  • Revenues from new assets compensated for efficiency discounts imposed by regulator.
  • Transported volume (607 TWh) was lower compared to the first six months of 2014 (621 TWh). This is due to, amongst other things, the reduced production of gas from the Groningen field. Booked capacity remained at the same level.
  • Operating result fell by € 38 million. This is due to the higher operating costs relating to the multi-year maintenance and replacement programme. In addition, due to the reduced gas production from the Groningen field, the necessary costs of bringing gas from other sources up to the desired quality level have also risen. Moreover, for the decommissioning and removal of pipeline sections for making Gasunie’s infrastructure more earthquake-proof, € 22 million was charged to the result.
  • Net result after taxation decreased by € 31 million to € 326 million.

Main developments

  • With three incidents, the safety performance relating to pipeline damage remained within the signal value of seven as set for 2015. The number of personal accidents per one million hours worked, measured as the reportable frequency index, fell from 5.3 at the end of June 2014 to 3.5 at the end of June 2015 (signal value equals 4.0).
  • On 8 March, a Green Deal was signed between, amongst other parties, the government, HarvestaGG and Gasunie for the establishment of a Green Goods Farm. An important part of this concept is the conversion of biogas to liquefied green gas (bio-LNG).
  • On 10 March, EnergyStock sold storage services from the Zuidwending natural gas buffer to the amount of 0.9 TWh. A part of this is additional volume that became available in this underground gas storage facility in the autumn of 2014.
  • On 31 March, Gate terminal gave the starting signal for the construction of an LNG break bulk facility in the port of Rotterdam. As of mid-2016, this facility will make it possible to distribute LNG from Gate terminal as a cleaner fuel for the maritime and transport sectors.
  • As of 1 April, Gasunie and Vopak are both 50% shareholder of Gate terminal, given that the last minority shareholder sold its 5% share in Gate terminal to these two parties.
  • The construction of the new tunnel for pipelines in the Elbe culvert near Hamburg and the last phase of the expansion project from North Germany to Denmark are going according to plan. With this last project, the German parts of the gas roundabout will be ready for use at the beginning of 2016.
  • The amount of traded volume via the Dutch virtual gas trading platform TTF has again increased significantly (7,003 TWh from January to May 2015 versus 5,322 TWh in the same period of 2014).
  • The large-scale replacement programme, which makes sure that outdated parts in the Dutch regional Gasunie network are replaced, is evaluated on an annual basis. The first results confirm that the programme is on track, in terms of both quantity and manner of execution.

Han Fennema, CEO Gasunie, about the results

“In the first half of 2015, we achieved solid results. This year, we are seeing a decline in our investment expenditures. Over the past few years, at the request of customers, we have expanded our network, further strengthening the gas roundabout. Now that the roundabout is almost at full strength, we are focusing on maintenance, as well as on replacement of older parts in our network. As a result, our infrastructure will, also in the long-term, be able to continue to make an important contribution to the energy supply in north-west Europe. A well-functioning diversified gas infrastructure will contribute to the reduction of CO2 in the short term and to the transition to a sustainable energy supply. Moreover, it will make sure the energy supply will remain affordable and reliable. Together with partners, we are looking for opportunities to develop and stimulate new technologies, in order to make our energy supply more sustainable.

The Minister of Economic Affairs has announced that production from the Groningen field will be reduced for 2015. In addition, he has taken a set of measures to improve the safety and quality of life of the people living in the gas extraction area of Groningen. In our view, it is a positive development that, with this set of measures, important steps are being taken to reduce the unintended negative side effects of gas extraction.
Our Dutch network operator GTS is playing a role in mitigating the consequences of the reduced gas production from the Groningen field. Through quality conversion, gas from other sources is made suitable for use in the low-calorific G-gas market (domestic use). In order to make sure we can continue to do this in the longer term, we are preparing the expansion of the existing nitrogen capacity. In this way, we will be able to keep security of supply in the Netherlands and surrounding countries at the high level that is desired.

This spring, GTS drew up its first Network Development Plan for the coming twenty years. In this plan, it is confirmed that the role of gas will change in the future. The exact nature of the change will depend on the development of our economy, as well as on the speed with which the number of sustainable energy sources will grow. The Network Development Plan also shows that natural gas will continue to play an important role in the next twenty years. Because the production of natural gas in the Netherlands and various other countries in north-west Europe is declining, it is necessary that gas from other countries and sources will continue to be able to find its way to customers. Our infrastructure will make this possible.”

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