Netherlands to nationalise Gazprom-manages storage bank
The Dutch government will consider nationalising a Gazprom-run gas storage centre in Bergen to help meet the EU's new storage threshold that is due to take effect from November 1, NL Times reported April 8.
Amsterdam is concerned Gazprom is refusing to fill its storage capacity due to the Ukraine crisis, with the Bergen storage plant currently only holding 10% of its total capacity. It could take as long as 150 days to bring the plant up to the EU's 80% threshold, meaning Amsterdam must move quickly to identify a resolution.
The government already owns a 40% stake in the 4bn m3-capacity gas storage site through its state-owned vehicle Energiebeheer Nederland. As well as Gazprom, it is partnered with Abu Dhabi state-owned energy group Taqa, though it was unclear which stakes related to Bergen's associated upstream gas field.
Sources said there is a "use-it-or-lose-it" clause in the contract for Gazprom's storage rights, which could allow Taqa to reallocate the space to other suppliers. The problem is that the vacant space can only be used by the temporary owner until Gazprom reclaims it, the NL Times said.
EBN is also expected to launch a buyout of Taqa's share so that it becomes the 100% shareholder and can fill Gazprom's storage quota with gas procured by other Dutch suppliers.