RWE to sell chunk of German gas grid

RWE to sell chunk of German gas grid
Photo: DPA
Energy company RWE is selling its German gas grid following a formal complaint by the European Commission on Wednesday.

The number-two player in the industry made the move in response to an anti-trust suit, which alleged that the company’s possession of the gas pipeline in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia impeded competition. The accusation could lead to billions of euros in fines for RWE.

At roughly 4000 kilometres in total length, the grid gives RWE possession of roughly one-tenth of the entire German grid valued at just under €1 billion.

“RWE will sell its portion of the grid under the supervision of a trustee,” the European Commission reported. “All buyers must first be approved by the Commission.”

A consortium of 36 public organisations that includes Dutch corporation Gasunie and other utility companies is reviewing an offer to purchase the grid, a spokesperson from the Bochumer Stadtwerke confirmed.

European Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes welcomed RWE’s offer to sell its portion of the grid: “This full acceptance of responsibility will essentially change the German gas market in creating more room for competition and giving end-users more choice.”

The administration expects competitive but fair prices, according to an EU spokesperson.

The grid is expected to be sold in May.