France to increase gas transportation tariffs

Doris Leblond
OGJ Correspondent

PARIS, Sept. 29 -- France's Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) reported that it will enable increases in usage tariffs on France's gas transport network in order to provide "better visibility" to market players, encourage relevant investments, and induce natural gas transporters to improve service quality and better control their costs.

On Jan. 1, 2009, GRTgaz, the transport affiliate of GDF Suez will benefit from an average 6% tariff increase over a 4-year period, while Total's transport affiliate Total Infrastructure Gaz France (TIGF) will benefit from a 10% average tariff hike on the same date.

With the new tariffs, a large balancing zone will be created covering half of northern France through the merger of the North, East, and West zones. CRE indicated that this will provide greater competition among the various gas sources: Norwegian gas, North European sources, LNG, and Russian gas. The merger was made possible through reinforcement of the network developed by GRTgaz. (OGJ Online, July 3, 2008).

In the South of France, notes CRE, investments TIGF and GRTgaz make on Artere de Guyenne will eliminate congestion where their networks meet.

CRE warned that important investments will be needed in the next few years to reduce congestion between northern and southern France and to ease access for new market entrants.

Interconnections between Belgium and Spain also are needed to satisfy markets and bolster supply security, while new methane terminal projects and gas-generated power units will require reinforcement of the transportation networks.

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