Gaz de France to open up transportation network

Gaz de France will open up its transport and distribution network to eligible clients Aug. 10, when the European Union directive on gas deregulation takes effect. The French state-owned company will not await parliamentary approval of the French draft law transposing the directive into national legislation, a process that has been delayed because of other pressing parliamentary business. Eligible clients will be able to choose their supplier for gas shipped via GdF's transport network.


Gaz de France will open up its transport and distribution network to eligible clients Aug. 10, when the European Union directive on gas deregulation takes effect. The French state-owned company will not await parliamentary approval of the French draft law transposing the directive into national legislation, a process that has been delayed because of other pressing parliamentary business.

As early as Aug. 10, eligible clients will be able to choose their own supplier for natural gas shipped via GdF's transport network. Eligible clients in this first opening up of the gas market in France comprise about 20% of France's gas market: all electricity producers except cogeneration, whatever the consumption level; and all clients that consume more than 25,000 cu m/year per site.

GdF has now published its network tariffs based on "transparency, neutrality, fairness, and competitivity." The information is directed at future users of the networks, which are GdF's competitors, and also at GdF itself. In this management role, GdF serves the dual function of network operator and supplier and treats itself in the same way it treats other operators.

It had already separated the transport and marketing businesses, the former backed by a safe information system and the latter in charge of the purchase and sale of gas.

What Energy Minister Christian Pierret described as a "transitory system" for access to the natural gas network also will be applied by France's two other gas networks�Compagnie Fran�se de M�ane and Gaz du Sud-Ouest�in which TotalFinaElf SA has large stakes.

The minister said this transitory arrangement will "of course be reexamined when the future gas law is adopted" by Parliament. The vote is expected in early 2001, when an independent regulatory body will control tariff policy. It will be the same regulatory body already set up to regulate electricity tariffs.

Tariffs are worked out in relation to the distance covered along the network, the volume set down in the contract, and the quantities of gas supplied, calculated in kilowatt-hours. Duration of the transport contract is 1 year. Tariffs covering the main transport gas lines are divided by the regions they traverse.

Over a 100 km distance, GdF's tariff will be 0.24 centime/kw-hr. This conforms to an average EU price of 0.22-0.31 centimes.

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