A gas reservoir in Bergen could be nationalised to secure gas provision for next winter because of a conflict with Gazprom, the Volkskrant reported on Friday.
Gazprom has been refusing to fill up the 40% of the reservoir it has under its management since last summer, a move now assumed to be part of plan to store as little gas as possible in Europe ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the paper said.
If the gas supply isn’t topped up in the next few months, the Netherlands could face a lack of gas next winter, experts fear. Both on a national and European level, countries have pledged that gas storage must be up to at least 80% of its capacity this summer.
The Bergermeer storage location has capacity for over four billion cubic metres of high calorie gas, or about 10% of Dutch annual needs.
Now the commercially run storage depot, 40% owned by the Dutch government and 60% by Abu Dhabi energy company Taqa, has become the subject of complicated negotiations, the paper said.
The deal with Gazprom, which runs until 2045, cannot simply be broken but main shareholder Taqa could offer the space to other providers if it invokes a ‘use it or lose it’ clause.
That will probably not happen, experts told the paper, because Gazprom could demand the use of the space at any time in the future, saddling Taqa with a costly and time consuming legal process.
That leaves buying out Taqa as the only practical solution left for energy minister Rob Jetten, experts told the paper. Such a move would leave the Dutch with 100% ownership of the reservoir, and allow the state to fill the reservoir with gas bought elsewhere.
A takeover would suit Taqa, which is reportedly looking to shed its gas and oil interests in other countries. The company did not comment on the story.
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