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Gas committee changes

May 10, 1999, 10:00 CEST

New chairs have been appointed from Statoil for Norway's Gas Negotiating (GFU) and Gas Supply (FU) committees.

"The biggest challenge for the GFU will be to function effectively in a liberalised gas market," says Rune Bjørnson, who has taken over as chair of this body from Georg Gundersen.

Jan M Heiberg is replacing Elisabeth Berge in the corresponding post at the FU.

Mr Bjørnson says a commitment to long-term contracts will remain necessary as a guarantee for massive capital spending on new Norwegian offshore developments.

But he is convinced that the GFU will be able to adapt to a market with new and different customers following the introduction of the European Union's gas directive, which lays the basis for free trade with gas in Europe.

The GFU is responsible for negotiating the sale of Norwegian gas, with Statoil, Norsk Hydro and Saga Petroleum as permanent members.

Mr Bjørnson heads the market east department in European Gas, which is responsible for selling gas to Germany, Austria, eastern Europe and the Nordic region.

The challenge of a liberalised market which can pose new customer demands is also seen by Mr Heiberg, who heads the gas supply and transport department in European Gas.

His committee is responsible for advising the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy on which Norwegian fields should be developed to deliver gas in order to fulfil Norway's contractual obligations.