Gasunie participates in planned North European gas pipeline NEL

Gasunie participates in planned North European gas pipeline NEL

Hannover, 11 June 2010 | Press release

New ownership structure strengthens the European outlook of the project

The Dutch natural gas transport company N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie is taking a 20 percent stake in the NEL pipeline - the second pipeline link for the Nord Stream Baltic Sea pipeline.

“The Nord Stream project with the two connecting pipelines OPAL and NEL is a pan-European energy concept which will make a key contribution to supply security in Europe. Gasunie’s involvement significantly enhances the European outlook of the project,” Dr. Gerhard König of WINGAS GmbH & Co. KG, Hans-Peter Floren of E.ON Ruhrgas AG and Pieter Trienekens of Gasunie explained in unison. In order to highlight the significance of NEL for Europe’s supply, the pipeline previously known as the “North German gas link” will be renamed the “North European Gas Pipeline”.

The NEL pipeline will run from where the Nord Stream comes on land in Lubmin near Greifswald to Rehden in Lower Saxony, stretching over 440 kilometers past Schwerin and Hamburg. It will connect Nord Stream with the European gas network, just as the OPAL natural gas pipeline does to the Czech Republic. Natural gas from the major reserves in Russia can thus be transported directly to Germany and other Member States of the European Union, in particular the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the UK. With Gasunie joining the project, the gas grid of Gasunie in Germany and Netherlands can be integrated into the overall concept.

With Gasunie (20 percent) entering the project, the shareholdings of the other two shareholders, WINGAS and E.ON Ruhrgas, decrease to 70 and 10 percent respectively (WINGAS minus 5 percent, E.ON Ruhrgas minus 15 percent). The planned investments for the pipeline project are approximately one billion euros. The final investment decision still has to be made; talks on the regulatory conditions are currently still being conducted with the Federal Network Agency. Public consultations for the planned natural gas pipeline are already underway in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Lower Saxony.

More information at: www.nel-pipeline.de

European energy provider WINGAS GmbH & Co. KG is active in natural gas trading and distribution in Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Austria, the Czech Republic and Denmark. Its customers include municipal utilities, regional gas suppliers, industrial firms and power plants. Since 1990 WINGAS has invested more than 3 billion Euros in the development of a natural gas transport and storage infrastructure. WINGAS TRANSPORT pipeline network, which is over 2,000 kilometers long, connects the major gas reserves in Siberia and in the North Sea to the growing markets in Western Europe. In Rehden in North Germany, WINGAS has the largest natural gas storage facility in Western Europe - with a working gas volume of over four billion cubic meters, and the company also participates in Central Europe's second largest storage facility in Haidach, Austria. Additional natural gas storage facilities are currently being built in Great Britain and Germany in order to secure the supply of natural gas in Europe. OPAL NEL TRANSPORT GmbH will perform the tasks of network operator for the OPAL and the NEL. It is part of the WINGAS Group.

E.ON Ruhrgas, based in Essen, is one of Europe's leading gas companies. In the E.ON Group operating worldwide, it is responsible for pan-European gas business, providing markets across Europe with gas. The E.ON Ruhrgas Group employs over 3,800 staff. In 2009 the company supplied 711 billion kWh of gas to its customers, which include local and regional energy suppliers, industrial clients and power stations. The gas pipeline network covers over 11,500 kilometers and contains 15 underground storage facilities in 13 locations in Germany and Austria with a working gas capacity of over 5 billion cubic meters and 28 compressor stations.

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 kilometers of pipeline in the Netherlands and northern Germany. 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. 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 hub’.

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