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France to allow private investors to buy into GRTgaz gas grid

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World Pipelines,

Reuters are reporting that France will allow gas utility Engie to sell part of the main French gas grid, GRTgaz, to private investors, according to a planned parliamentary bill, as the government eyes a series of possible privatisations to boost the economy.

The gas grid, which manages most French gas pipelines and storage sites, is currently 75% owned by Engie, with the remaining 25% owned by state investor Caisse des Depots and insurer CNP.

The new law will allow the state-controlled investors to jointly hold only a majority stake in GRTgaz, rather than the entire capital, according to a version of the bill cited by top French court Conseil d’Etat.

A separate, smaller French gas grid company in the southwest of the country, TIGF, is controlled by Italy’s Snam, Europe’s biggest pipeline operator, which has a strategic alliance with Belgium’s Fluxys.

President Emmanuel Macron’s government is planning several large privatisations with the proceeds already earmarked for a new €10 billion (US$11.6 billion) innovation fund.

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