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Belgium says it has struck deal with Suez on energy market

Belgium says it has struck deal with Suez on energy market

The Belgian government said Friday it struck a deal with French energy firm Suez SA on opening up the Belgian gas and electricity market to rivals ahead of its planned merger with Gaz de France SA.
It did not give details, saying Suez and its Belgian electricity unit Electrabel SA would issue a press statement shortly.
"The conversations between the Belgian state and Suez/Electrabel have today led to a positive conclusion which relates more particularly to a number of new commitments taken by Suez/Electrabel toward the Belgian government concerning its energy policy in the country," the government said.
This deal took the Suez-GDF merger into consideration, it said, and would be forwarded to Belgian market regulators and the European Commission.
The government said Wednesday it wanted to see two other energy companies in the market who would be able to offer a full product range, and that this was why it was asking for Suez's Belgian electricity company Electrabel SA to open up its nuclear power generation to two rivals.
Belgium said it had told EU regulators that it wanted to see independent and impartial management of the country's gas network and a new liquefied natural gas terminal that could be accessed by competitors.
The European Commission said Wednesday that it was solely responsible for approving or blocking the Suez-GDF tie-up, but Belgium was free to strike deals with the companies to tackle pre-existing problems in the market.
Last month, Belgium said it was "obvious" GDF must give up its stake in Belgian power company SPE, the only major competitor to Suez on the Belgian electricity market, saying otherwise the merger would wipe out practically all competition.
Suez owns the country's largest energy provider Electrabel as well as its main gas producer Distrigas and gas transportation company Fluxys SA. GDF provides gas to the Belgian market and has a stake in SPE. The tie-up between the two risks turning a duopoly into an illegal monopoly.


Updated : 2021-05-10 08:06 GMT+08:00