France approves gas transport system expansion

France's CRE has approved the 2008 investments planned by Gaz de France's gas transmission subsidiary GRTgaz and Total's gas transmission subsidiary Total Infrastructures Gaz France.

Doris Leblond
OGJ Correspondent

PARIS, Jan. 3 -- France's Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) has approved the 2008 investments planned by Gaz de France's gas transmission subsidiary GRTgaz and Total's gas transmission subsidiary Total Infrastructures Gaz France (TIGF).

The sums are much higher than those of the previous years, noted CRE, pointing to the €585 million planned by GRTgaz, up from €382 million in 2007, and to the €191 million estimated by TIGF, up from €160 million in 2007. The increase represents part of both companies' long-term projects involving investments of €4 billion for GRTgaz and €1 billion for TIGF over the next 10 years.

The funds, intended primarily to develop the French gas transport network to meet their market players' needs, will contribute both to its development and to gas supply safety, said CRE.

From 2009 on, the merger of three balancing zones on the network of GRTgaz will create a 350 Tw-hr annual consumption market and put into competition LNG and gas from Northern Europe and Russia. In addition, the bolstering of entry point capacities and the coming on stream of gas-powered electricity units will enable new players to compete in France's market, added CRE.

However Gaz de France and Total have refused to renew the 3-year gas release programs in the south and southwest of France that began in 2005. These gradually will end in 2008, starting in early January for some of the programs.

Despite a number of alternative gas suppliers' wanting the gas releases to be kept up in that area of France, which is short of entry points, CRE has no authority to force Gaz de France and Total to comply.

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