Gasunie publishes 2017 annual report as production, dividends wind down

Income from gas was down considerably. Photo:

Dutch gas distributor Gasunie published its 2017 annual report on Thursday, the same day the Dutch government decided to close down gas extraction from the Groningen field by 2030.

Gasunie, which distributes the gas and is a major source of dividend income for the government, will have to transition itself just as the energy market changes tack, the company said.

Gasunie is now charged with the distribution of gas from the Groningen field in the Netherlands and neighbouring parts of Germany. Part of the Groningen gas is exported to other countries.

The Groningen-based distributor booked 2017 net profit €56m higher at €269m on turnover which fell by €307m to €1.24bn.

The Dutch government is expected to earn about €250m from Gasunie over 2017. Gasunie was founded in 1963 and is a partnership in which the state holds 50% of the shares and Shell and Exxon each have 25%.  The energy companies pay tax on their share of the earnings.

Prime minister Mark Rutte said on Thursday that extraction from the Groningen field would be stopped completely in 2030. Rutte said the impact of the gas extraction – the earthquakes – are no longer acceptable and that ‘safety has priority’.

Gasunie is investing in other energy sources. These include a nitrogen plant where high-caloric gas imported from Norway could be converted into low caloric ‘Groningen-type’ gas. The company is also buying into offshore wind farms, a LNG terminal in Hamburg and a German pipeline.

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