Norway Plans to Nationalize Gas Pipeline Infrastructure from 2028

Norway’s oil and energy ministry said it is planning to nationalize most of the country’s gas pipeline infrastructure when many existing concessions expire in 2028. Since Russia invaded Ukraine last year and subsequently cut most pipeline gas flows, Norway has become the largest supplier of natural gas to Europe. Most of the Norwegian gas is delivered to Europe via a network of pipelines stretching around 9,000 kilometers. The ministry said it would send a letter to license holders “signaling the state aims to make use of the right of repatriation at the end of the license period”.

“The state wants complete state ownership of the central parts of the Norwegian gas transport system,” the ministry said, without giving reasons.

Norwegian state takes an active role in many of the country’s sectors and is the top owner of Norway’s biggest bank DNB, telecoms operator Telenor and oil company Equinor, among others.

The gas pipeline network is owned by Gassled, a partnership set up in 2003 by the energy companies that were producing gas offshore Norway at the time. It cost billions of dollars to build.

“Norwegian petroleum policy has had its foundation on combined ownership from private companies and the state and has worked well,” said Georgsen, CEO of Silex Gas, one of Gassled’s partners.

“We will work with the government to find a good solution for the transfer of ownership,” he added.

Swiss-based Partners Group, which acquired one of Gassled’s co-owners, Cape Omega, for €1.2 billion in 2019, said it would work “constructively” with the government to find a solution.

The Norwegian state already has 46.7% of Gassled via state-owned company Petoro, while another 5% is held by majority state-owned Equinor.

One of Norway’s oppositions, right-wing Progress Party, questioned the rationale for the government’s move.

“I don’t see any reasons to nationalise these pipelines,” Halleland, energy spokesman for the party, said. “The state already has control of Gassled and the (gas transportation) sector is heavily regulated.”

“I think it’s going to be negative for the future investments in the Norwegian continental shelf,” he added.

Gassled owns the Kaarstoe and Kollsnes processing plants as well as the majority of the pipelines delivering Norwegian gas to the European Union and Britain.

The technical operator of the infrastructure is state-owned Gassco and would remain so under the new regime, the energy ministry said.

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