Infrastructure company Solveig Gas Norway is the latest stakeholder in Norway’s offshore natural gas pipeline network to sue the country’s government over a planned reduction in transportation fees.
In a statement issued on the London Stock Exchange’s website on Monday, the Norwegian-based company said it had filed a writ of summons to initiate legal proceedings against the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE).
Solveig, which holds the second largest stake in the joint-venture partnership Gassled at 24.76%, has included fellow infrastructure stakeholders Infragas Norge and Silex Gas Norway in the writ of summons, Kurt Georgsen, chief executive officer of Silex said.
Njord Gas Infrastructure, also an infrastructure company, announced plans to start legal proceedings against MPE earlier this month ( see ESGM 16 January 2014) . The company holds the third largest stake in Gassled at 8.04%.
The remaining seven companies include some of Europe’s largest producers, which potentially stand to gain from government plans to lower fees for new gas finds.
The regulatory amendment, which the ministry proposed in January 2013, aims to promote more exploration and encourage development of new discoveries in opened areas of the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea South. The ministry had previously said that the lowered gas transport costs would reinforce the competitiveness of Norwegian gas, while also ensuring a reasonable profit for Gassled’s owners.
Georgsen told ICIS: “We do not see the legal basis for the reduction that the ministry has introduced and we are looking forward to testing that in court.”
Solveig Gas Norway is owned by the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, Allianz Capital Partners, and Infinity Investments, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.
Other Gassled stakeholders are: Statoil Petroleum, RWE Dea Norge, GDF SUEZ E&P Norge, DONG E&P Norge, ConocoPhillips Skandinavia, Norsea Gas, and Petoro, which serves as the licensee for the Norwegian state’s direct financial interest (SDFI) in petroleum activities. Kirsty Ayakwah