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GDF Suez to Buy Dutch Gas Assets

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GDF Suez to Buy Dutch Gas Assets

September 8, 2008; Page B2

French utility GDF Suez SA said Friday that it is in exclusive talks to buy a package of gas assets in the Netherlands for €1.08 billion ($1.55 billion) — a step toward achieving its medium-term objective of having 1.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent of proven and probable reserves.

The assets, owned by Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij BV, include working interests of between 30% and 60% in five producing fields, as well as potential for exploring and boosting volumes, said both GDF Suez and NAM. The interests produce about 3.3 million barrels of oil equivalent a year, they said.

A stake in the Dutch section of the A6-F3 pipeline, which transports gas from the German North Sea to the Nogat pipeline system, and a 30% stake in Nogat BV — the operator of the pipeline — are also part of the package.

NAM is the largest exploration and production company in the Netherlands and is owned by Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Exxon Mobil Corp.

“With this acquisition, GDF Suez reinforces its strong position in the Netherlands and becomes the largest exploration and production operator in the Dutch sector of the North Sea,” said Jean-Marie Dauger, executive vice president in charge of GDF Suez’s global gas division.

The news underscores that exploration and production are “more and more important” for GDF Suez, said Société Générale analyst John Honoré.

GDF Suez, which was formed this summer through the merger of French state-controlled utility company Gaz de France with utility Suez, plans capital expenditures of €30 billion until 2010. Since making its stock-market debut July 22, the unified company has unveiled a flurry of investments.

Thursday, GDF Suez announced the acquisition of a 15% stake in an offshore exploration and production license in Azerbaijan. If an exploration phase to run through 2011 is successful, GDF Suez said it could boost its reserves by approximately 35 million barrels. At the end of last year, GDF Suez had proven and probable reserves of 667 million barrels, said a spokeswoman.

Write to Adam Mitchell at

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