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Mon 19 Dec 2011 06:11 PM

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Abu Dhabi's TAQA wins customers for Euro venture

Company secures three energy firms for launch of Netherlands gas storage facility

Abu Dhabi's TAQA wins customers for Euro venture
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) said on Monday it has secured three European energy firms as launch customers for its massive Bergermeer gas storage facility in the Netherlands in deals worth up to $1bn.

Statoil ASA, Vattenfall Energy Trading Netherlands and a third European energy company agreed with TAQA to lease a total of more than 90 percent of the 1 billion cubic metres (bcm) of annual storage capacity made available, TAQA said in a statement.

It declined to name the third company but a source familiar with the matter told Reuters that it is a northwest European energy producer, one of Europe's largest.

"The vast market demand for our storage capacity is proof of northwest Europe's need for the seasonal flexibility offered by this project. Bergermeer is coming to market at the right time and will be a game changer," Carl Sheldon, chief executive of TAQA said in the statement.

The project has been facing delays after the highest administrative court in the Netherlands decided to halt construction because of environmental concerns, and has asked for additional tests. The court is expected to decide on future construction work in early 2012.

TAQA said this means construction of the storage facility cannot be completed in 2014 as originally planned.

The storage project whose full capacity is 4.1 bcm, along with the soon-to-be-completed liquefied natural gas terminal in Rotterdam, is an important part of the Netherlands' plan to become a European hub for natural gas.

The three launch customers secured both fixed price and indexed price long-term contracts with durations between 4 and 10 years as of April 2015, the TAQA statement said.

The majority Abu Dhabi government-owned TAQA, with a 60 percent stake, is the operator of the Bergermeer Gas Storage facility and also acts as the marketing agent for all storage capacity.

EBN BV, an independent company with the Dutch State as its sole shareholder, holds a 40 percent stake in the project.

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