Norway Delays Natural-Gas Tariff Cut Following Investor Backlash

Norway, western Europe’s largest gas exporter, will delay proposed cuts to tariffs on natural gas transported through the Gassled pipeline network after being overwhelmed by reactions to the plan.

The planned 90 percent cut in gas transport tariffs, which was due to come into effect from May 1, will be delayed as the Oil and Energy Ministry considers replies submitted in response to the plan, it said today.

“We can confirm that we are aiming for changes in the tariff regulation to come into force July 1,” ministry spokesman Jon Evang said in an e-mailed response to questions. “The ministry has received extensive submissions and will need more time.”

Norway, which is planning to cut tariffs in the network to make more gas discoveries profitable while boosting exploration and recovery rates, has received criticism from investors in the pipeline and their lenders. Investors argue the cut would reduce returns to 4 percent, well below their projected minimum of 7 percent.

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