Multi-faceted and energetic: 20 years of German-Norwegian energy partnership

Sustainable energy supplies with natural gas from Norway

(PresseBox) ( Leipzig, )
For the past 20 years, a successful energy partnership has linked VNG - Verbundnetz Gas Aktiengesellschaft (VNG) and the Norwegian natural gas suppliers. On December 16, 1993, the first gas sales contract was signed between VNG, the Norwegian gas negotiating committee GFU chaired by Statoil, and the companies Norsk Hydro and Saga Petroleum. Since then, VNG has received some 55 billion cubic metres of natural gas from Norway.

"We highly appreciate the partnership with our Norwegian suppliers which has now been in existence for 20 years. Together with Russia, Norway is the most important natural gas supplier for Europe and for VNG. The extensive natural gas reserves of Norway in the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea are one of the cornerstones of our natural gas procurement activities. Natural gas from Norway therefore makes a key contribution to secure supplies for our customers," said Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Barbknecht, VNG Executive Board Member responsible for trading.

Norwegian natural gas as a climate-friendly component in the German energy mix

Barbknecht also underlined that the German-Norwegian energy partnership documented the climate friendliness of natural gas as a fuel: "In the mid-1990s, environmentally compatible natural gas, including gas from Norway, ushered in a new energy supply era in Eastern Germany. As a result of the changeover from lignite and manufactured gas to natural gas, especially in the heating sector, air quality was improved. Large cities which had once been polluted by coal fumes became attractive again.

Rune Bjørnson, Senior Vice President, Natural Gas, of Statoil, VNG's largest Norwegian gas supplier, also underscored that natural gas had the best carbon dioxide balance of any fossil fuel. "We are pleased that we have been able to contribute to environmentally compatible energy supplies in Germany and Europe for more than 20 years together with our partner VNG. In the future, the benefits of Norwegian natural gas, such as cost efficiency, security of supplies and climate friendliness, will also help natural gas assume a key role in the German energy transition."

Barbknecht added: "The energy transition has led to the recognition that natural gas is indispensable. As a natural gas specialist, VNG has a key contribution to make in positioning natural gas, including natural gas from Norway, on the market as the ideal partner to renewable energy sources. With 10 sales offices in seven sales regions, we offer nationwide coverage in Germany - these are ideal conditions for reliable, flexible supplies to our customers."

Long-term delivery relationships and gas production with VNG Norge

VNG currently has long-term delivery relationships with the three Norwegian gas producers Statoil ASA, Eni Norge AS and TOTAL E&P NORGE AS. In addition, Norway became even more important for VNG in 2006 following the establishment of VNG Norge. This wholly-owned subsidiary of VNG is involved in natural gas and oil exploration and development activities, holds participations in 36 production licenses on the Norwegian and Danish Continental Shelf and is the operator under 10 of these licences. VNG Norge also holds shares in the producing fields Brage, Njord and Hyme.

Linked by shared social responsibility

The significance of German-Norwegian energy cooperation is by no means limited to the business sector. Since September 2005, the Honorary Consulate of the Kingdom of Norway has been located in VNG's headquarters. Since May 2013, the Chairman of the Executive Board of VNG, Dr. Karsten Heuchert, has been active as Royal Norwegian Honorary Consul responsible for the area of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Brandenburg. University cooperation arrangements between VNG and Norway have existed for more than 15 years within the framework of the VNG-Campus initiative. These schemes support scholarships for students to spend a semester abroad and to take part in specialist excursions. In Norway, NTNU, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, takes part in these programs. In addition, VNG has for many years supported charitable associations and initiatives including Edvard Munch-Haus e.V. in Rostock-Warnemünde, the twinning arrangement between the towns of Oberhof and Lillehammer and the Edvard Grieg Gedenk- und Begegnungsstätte in Leipzig.

"Cooperation in the fields of business, higher education and culture clearly shows that our ties with Norway go far beyond our energy cooperation. We are convinced that people will continue to breathe life into this partnership in the future," Barbknecht added.
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