Price paid by Belgian TSO for transit firm uncertain until 2015
Uncertainty surrounding the price that can be charged for Belgian gas transit means that grid operator Fluxys still does not know the real value of its recent acquisition of Distrigas & Co, according to a financial update on the Fluxys website.
Fluxys acquired Distrigas & Co, the transit activities of gas incumbent Distrigas, earlier this month to pave the way for a merger between both companies’ parent group, Suez, and French Gaz de France.
Fluxys paid EUR 350 million for Distrigas & Co, less than half the initial valuation of the company, but this figure is subject to change once more clarity on the transit tariff regime has emerged. The price could change at any time until 2015, if new legislation on gas transit comes into force.
The reason for the sharp drop in the valuation of Distrigas & Co is new regulation, which energy regulator CREG imposed on Belgian gas transit this spring. This cut the contract price with certain shippers by 75%.
A temporary government suspension of the tariffs was swiftly lifted after a consultation with CREG, but appeals are still outstanding from Fluxys, Distrigas, Distrigas & Co and some grid users, the TSO said.
And draft legislation aiming to reform the energy sector has still not been passed by parliament. Liberalising the energy sector might now slip down the agenda, since Belgium plunged into political crisis earlier this month after the country’s prime minister stepped down.
More capacity available?
Shippers have long said Fluxys should be able to free up more grid capacity once it has taken full control of transit activities. The grid operator now said it would be able to take advantage of operational synergies between transit and transport, but stopped short of making any estimates as to how much more capacity could be available to shippers.
The activities of Distrigas & Co include selling natural gas transit capacity in the Troll pipeline between the Zeebrugge hub and the interconnection with France at Blaregnies, as well as in the RTR pipeline running between Zeebrugge and Zelzate in the Netherlands, and Eynatten in Germany.
Distrigas & Co also has a 10% shareholding in hub operator Huberator and a 49% shareholding in the LNG carrier BW Suez Boston.
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