|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (April 2012)|
|This article is outdated. (May 2012)|
|Industry||Oil and gas industry|
|Founded||1 January 2005|
|Key people||Philippe Boucly (CEO)|
|Services||Natural gas transmission|
|Revenue||€1.464 billion (2008)|
|Net income||€135 million (2008)|
GRTgaz is a public limited company, a subsidiary of the industrial group GDF Suez (formerly Gaz de France). It was created on 1 January 2005 in application of European directives on the European electricity and gas market. GRTgaz operates in the regulated energy sector: this means that the rates it charges for its services are public and set by the Government. Its activities are monitored by the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE). Its board of directors is made up of representatives of the Government and of personnel, independent directors and representatives of the GDF Suez Group.
Philippe Boucly has been CEO of the company for January 1, 2009.
GRTgaz's activity is a natural monopoly. However, GRTgaz does not operate France's entire gas transmission system: TIGF, a subsidiary of Total S.A., operates the transmission system in the south-western quarter of France.
GRTgaz has a dual role:
- to transport natural gas to industrial customers and public distribution networks, at optimum cost and in maximum safety,
- to support the opening up of the energy market in France by providing equal access to the transmission system to all licensed natural gas shippers.
GRTgaz has a public service role: it guarantees a continuous supply of natural gas, even in times of extreme cold. Under French law, even in the event of exceptionally cold conditions, as may occur every 50 years, the transmission system must be able to meet peak consumer demand. The law defines this concept of exceptionally cold conditions as follows:
- a cold winter such as occurs statistically every 50 years,
- or a period of extremely low temperature lasting a maximum of three days, as occurs statistically every 50 years.
Currently, these temperatures, as calculated from previous winters, are around -1.5°C on average across France, with a minimum of -18.1°C and a maximum of -1°C, depending on the location.
The transmission system operated by GRTgaz covers the whole of France, with the exception of the South-West. It consists of:
- a primary pipeline system 6,100-kilometre (3,800 mi) long: the biggest pipelines (diameters of 400 to 1,200 millimetres (16 to 47 in) and pressures of 67 to 85 bars (6,700 to 8,500 kPa)).
- the regional pipeline system: smaller in diameter (80 to 1,400 millimetres (3.1 to 55.1 in), pressure of 20 to 40 bars (2,000 to 4,000 kPa)), the function of these pipes is to supply gas to industrial customers and public distribution networks.
Approximately every 150 kilometres (93 mi) is a compressor station, which restores pressure to the gas. Interconnection stations along the pipeline direct the gas in different directions, like a motorway interchange.
GRTgaz's 10-year investment program focuses on the following aims:
- system development: debottlenecking the entry and exit points on the system, increasing transmission capacity,
- fulfilling its public service obligations, in particular extending the regional system in order to handle consumption peaks in the event of a very cold winter,
- system safety: application of the safety standards governing gas transmission infrastructures, which were revised in 2006, both on future structures and existing pipelines and compressor stations, to offer maximum protection to people and the environment
- respect for the environment: application of changes in environmental regulations, ISO 14001 certification for compressor stations
- enhancing reliability and maintaining infrastructures, pipelines, stations, etc.
- connecting new users to the transmission system, in particular power stations, for which 9 projects are currently underway (connection contracts signed).
In all, the plan is to invest more than €5 billion over the period 2007-2016, including €480 million on safety and €550 million on environmental protection.