Enagás Acquires 20% of UK-Netherlands Gas Pipeline For $75 Million

The Spanish company frames the operation in its objective of contributing to the security of supply in Europe, the cornerstone of its latest strategic plan.

Enagás wants to become strong in the rest of Europe. The manager of the Spanish gas system has announced on Monday the purchase from the German giant Uniper of 20% of the capital of BBL, the company that operates the 235-kilometre gas pipeline that connects the United Kingdom with the Netherlands. The payment will be around 75 million euros, according to the figures provided by the purchasing party. Harassed by liquidity problems derived from the cut in gas supply from Russia, the German gas company was forced to ask for its rescue with public money last summer and needs to make cash with asset sales.

The operation, still subject to compliance with the “suspensive conditions typical of this type of operation” and “a preferential right of the other co-owners of BBL”, represents, according to Enagás, a further step in the main objective of its latest strategic plan : “Advancing in its position as one of the main operators to reinforce the security of energy supply in Europe”, according to the note in which the operation was made public. It also comes at a key moment in the redefinition of the European energy map, in the midst of the crisis unleashed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine —with the consequent change in gas flows— and also in full decarbonization of the European energy system, a goal in which the gradual replacement of natural gas by green hydrogen seems fundamental.

BBL’s Shareholders

Following this transaction, BBL’s shareholders will be made up of the Dutch Gasunie (60%), the Belgian Fluxys (20%) and the Spanish Enagás (20%). “After closing the acquisition, three Transmission System Operators (TSO, operators of the national gas systems) will be the owners of this key infrastructure in the security of supply in Europe”, underlines the company chaired by Antonio Llardén.

The BBL pipeline is a 235-kilometre infrastructure important for energy security in Europe. Its flow is bidirectional between the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, two of the few producers of natural gas in the EU and also large consumers of this fuel. The submarine tube has a maximum capacity of 15 billion cubic meters of gas (bcm) per year of direct flow between the gas terminals of Balgzand (the Netherlands) and Bacton (in the United Kingdom) and 5 bcm per year in the opposite direction. reverse.

In addition, the interconnection is included in the map of the European Hydrogen Backbone —an initiative involving 31 operators from 28 European countries that promote a future hydrogen network in the EU— and “could be adapted for the transport of green hydrogen by joining the points of production and consumption in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom”, outlines Enagás in the note sent to the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) to communicate the transaction. The Spanish company is also a key part of the future construction of the tube through which renewable hydrogen will flow between Barcelona and Marseille from 2030, at an approximate cost of 2,500 million euros.

This article is originally published on elpais.com