Press release

Gas trading company GasTerra sees considerable drop in sales volume and revenue

GRONINGEN, February 27, 2015 - Gas trading company GasTerra published its figures for 2015 today. As in 2014, both the volume of gas sold and the total revenue have fallen. The sales volume in 2015 was 70.3 billion cubic meters (2014: 81.3), with a turnover of 14.7 billion Euros (2014: 19.5), a drop of 25 percent. This decrease is mainly due to the limit set by the Dutch cabinet for the production from the Groningenveld and the steady decrease in production from the smaller fields, but also due to lower gas prices.

In the Netherlands, the discussion about the role of natural gas a a source of energy is dominated by the earthquakes occurring as a result of the gas extraction in Groningen. This discussion also had its effect on GasTerra. ‘It’s no longer “business as usual” in the Dutch gas sector, and in my opinion, business will never be the same again’, says Gertjan Lankhorst, CEO of GasTerra, in response to the annual figures. ‘The earthquakes in Groningen have had a massive impact. The people living in the area around the Groningenveld suffer from damage to their property, are insecure and afraid. At the same time, millions of households in the Netherlands, Germany, France and Belgium, who are dependent on natural gas from Groningen, should be able to continue to rely on this gas to heat their homes. The high economic and social value of this natural resource must also not be ignored. Fifty years after the discovery of the Groningenveld, the Netherlands still has a total of approximately 700 billion cubic meters of conventional natural gas at its disposal. If this gas is extracted in a safe and responsible manner, society will continue to profit, both economically and environmentally, in the future. It is therefore of great importance that the feelings of insecurity that people in Groningen have, are removed and that the level of public support of gas extraction in Groningen is restored.’

Despite the big changes in the business environment, GasTerra’s mission has remained the same: Maximise the value of Dutch natural gas. The focus of this strategy is and remains selling the gas offered to GasTerra at a competitive price. And the company has managed to do that again this year, as can be seen in the report. Of the total of 70.3 billion cubic meters of gas purchased and resold, 29.4 billion came from the Groningenveld, 22 billion from the smaller fields,12 billion from the virtual marketplaces and 6.9 billion from Russia, Norway, Germany and the United Kingdom.

The free gas market is becoming more and more important. The trade on the Dutch market TTF in 2015 rose to a record level, with a traded volume of 1708 billion cubic meters. The popularity of the TTF is due to the leading position which the Netherlands has traditionally occupied in the European gas sector. The traded volume is increasing year on year. In 2013, the average churn rate (the ratio between physical and traded volume) was 18.5; in 2014, this had gone up to 31 and in 2015 it was 37. As a result of its leading position, the TTF is the main price marker for long-term contracts and for gas traded at other marketplaces on the European continent.

Since 2014, the volume of Groningengas has been limited to a maximum annual production, the “Groningen ceiling”. After setting the production limit for 2015 to 39.4 billion cubic meters in January 2015, in June 2015 the Dutch Cabinet decided that the total extraction from the Groningenveld in 2015 should be limited to only 30 billion cubic meters, in addition to a single net extraction from the gas storage in Norg of 3 billion cubic meters. Following a ruling by the Council of State, the Dutch Cabinet decided that the production from the Groningenveld in the gas year 2015/2016 (running from October 1, 2015, to October 1, 2016) should not exceed 27 billion cubic meters. An excess up to a total of 33 billion cubic meters is only allowed if the current natural gas year proves to be a relatively cold year.

It is necessary and inevitable that energy supply becomes more sustainable. However, as the share of renewable energy sources such as wind and sun is still small, fossil fuels will have to continue to play a large role in the immediate and further future. The emphasis then has to be on the reduction of CO2 emissions, something which is only possible with a tailored policy which includes the use of gas. GasTerra contributes by trading green gas, developing specific products and collaborating in energy transition projects within the framework of its CSR policy.

The falling volumes and turnovers have also had an effect on GasTerra as a company. In 2015, a reorganisation and cost-saving process was started. The aim is to reduce the costs by approximately 30% by 2018. This reduction is taking place without compulsory redundancies.