Gaz de France offers its experience to the regulator

Vol 11, PW 10 (20 Sep 07) People & Policy

Gaz de France (GdF) has offered to share its experience with the new gas and downstream regulator in India to help it understand the regulatory system in Europe.

Exact details are unclear but PETROWATCH understands GdF approached the Delhi-based regulator last month (August) with a proposal to make a presentation on its capabilities. Earlier this month GdF confirms a controversial merger with Suez Energy to create one of the world's top three listed utilities.

GdF points to its 200,000-km of distribution pipelines and 35,000-km of transmission pipelines as evidence of its expertise in the gas transmission and distribution business. As is its ownership of two LNG terminals in France and a third with Total to be commissioned early next year, making it one of the largest infrastructure operators in Europe.

GdF also has a presence in the UK, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy and Hungary. “Over the past ten years GdF has had an ongoing dialogue with the French regulator and the European Commission on regulatory issues,â€‌ we learn.

“If required GdF would also be happy to facilitate contact meetings between the office of Labanyendu Mansingh and the French energy regulator. GdF wants the Indian regulator to benefit from its experience.

â€‌ Others are not so sure. “GdF is totally the wrong company for India's gas regulator to be talking to,â€‌ says one observer.

“If the regulator wants impartial advice it should approach an independent consultant. GdF is an industry â€کplayer’ with a de facto monopoly on transmission and distribution in France.

â€‌ Perhaps, agree sources close to the French state-owned utility, but GdF’s history under state ownership, they say would be a plus, not minus point. “As a state owned company public duty is firmly embedded in the GdF philosophy,â€‌ we hear.

“Government regulatory bodies in India should be comfortable with that.â€‌