SEP deal split into five
Five different energy companies took over the gas purchase agreement between Dutch power company SEP and the Troll group on 1 January.
This secures the continued sales of two billion standard cubic metres of Norwegian gas up to 2016.
The five energy companies are Elektriciteits-Produktiemaatschappij Oost en Noord-Nederland (EPON), E.ON Benelux Generation, UNA, Essent Energy Trading and Delta Nuts Bedrijven. The first three had ownership interests in SEP, while Essent and Delta were indirect owners through the power utility EPZ.
"We are very pleased with this arrangement," says Egil Haaland, manager for gas sales and energy projects in continental Europe.
SEP was previously responsible for all gas supplies for electricity generation in the Netherlands. After the European Union's electricity directive took effect, the Dutch introduced new legislation for this sector.
The Troll group, comprising Statoil, Shell, Norsk Hydro, Conoco and TotalFinaElf took legal action against SEP to protect its interests when the agreement came under pressure at the end of 1998.
Mr Haaland says that the Troll group no longer has anything to lose through further demerging of SEP assets and consequently has withdrawn its appeal to the Dutch Supreme Court.
The agreement with SEP was drawn up in 1989 and gas deliveries started in 1995.