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European Gas Infrastructure Industry emphasises challenges and opportunities in building the appropriate gas infrastructure for the future energy mix


23 Jun 2011



The role of natural gas and its underlying infrastructure in achieving competition, security of supply and sustainability was discussed in Edinburgh today at the GIE Annual Conference with the European Gas Infrastructure Industry and European stakeholders. In his opening speech GIE President Jean-Claude Depail underlined the important role that gas will have to play in the future energy mix by 2050.

Speaking in front of 300 participants and journalists Jean-Claude Depail highlighted that investments require a stable and predictable long-term regulatory framework. He also called for a level playing field for markets to respond to existing and new infrastructure needs, but also the right signal from policy makers to the market to build the trust to invest.

The new developing objectives and goals for the European energy sector are both a challenge and an opportunity that gas infrastructure operators are eager to take. ”Natural gas can make a key contribution to realizing the objectives for a sustainable society. It is the cleanest, most efficient and versatile of all fossil fuels. The abundance of natural gas, its competitive cost of supply, its immediate availability and its role as a flexible back-up for renewable energy, positions it as the best energy source to drive progress towards greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.” The GIE President emphasised that the whole gas industry has to act now and grasp this huge opportunity.

In order for renewables such as wind and solar power to make the envisaged contribution in the future, the variable nature of the power they produce has to be handled. By far the least environmentally-intrusive way of doing it is to complement the variable zero-carbon power with low-carbon gas power – using the existing underground, invisible gas grid. “Natural gas should no longer be regarded as a mere bridge towards a low-carbon economy but rather as a destination fuel”, Jean-Claude Depail added.

He concluded by saying that gas infrastructure can be adapted to both new market condition and technological developments, but the right framework for that has to be jointly set now by policymakers, regulators and industry.

Note to editors:
GIE is the association representing gas transmission companies, storage system operators and LNG terminal operators in Europe.GIE has currently 66 members in 26 European countries.

Each year GIE organizes a conference in another European country hosted by one or more of its member companies. The 9th Annual Conference takes place in Edinburgh, Scotland and is hosted by National Grid and South Hook LNG. This year’s GIE Annual Conference will allow participants to discuss during two days the topics that are currently topping the EU Energy Agenda. The GIE conferences gather more than 300 international participants.

Recently GIE has published two new brochures on their Key messages and on the Roadmap 2050: To find out more about GIE’s structure and activities, please visit our website at

Press Contact: Astrid Dolak, T +32 2 209 05 08, M +32 496 126 951, E-mail:
GIE - Gas Infrastructure Europe, avenue de Cortenbergh 100, B-1000, Brussels