GasTerra

GasTerra is a gas trading company that operates internationally and is based at Stationsweg 1 in Groningen. The company has over 50 years’ experience and enjoys a good market position. GasTerra serves part of the Dutch and European gas market. We have a customer-focused approach to our operations and promote the appropriate use of gas and the development of new applications in the field of gas and energy. The company supports the need for a responsible transition to a climate-neutral energy supply and initiates and facilitates projects in that context.

Mission, vision and strategy

GasTerra's mission is to maximise the value of Dutch natural gas. We fulfil a public role with regard to the implementation of the Dutch government's Small Fields Policy. This policy aims to promote natural gas production in the smaller gas fields in the Netherlands.

The economic value and social importance of gas determine GasTerra’s role in the Dutch and European energy supply. GasTerra maximises the value of its product by aiming at four goals:

  • Anticipation: we anticipate a changing environment and listen to our stakeholders so that opportunities and threats can be identified and so that GasTerra can continue to fulfil its mission of value maximisation in the future.
  • Volume:  we aim to sell the entire volume of gas offered to GasTerra.
  • Price: we aim to achieve a price in line with the market, with the highest possible margin for the entire portfolio.
  • Costs: we try to achieve a correct balance between costs on the one hand and value and care on the other hand.

The company makes the best possible use of its position in the European market, specifically in those market segments where demand for natural gas goes hand in hand with demand for supplemental services, particularly flexibility.  Gas from non-Dutch sources is procured if it fits into the overall supply and demand portfolio. GasTerra is continuously developing new products and services. In this context, we seek to be a reliable and competitive supplier to our customers.

The company attaches great importance to making the supply of energy sustainable and initiates projects in this area. Gas remains indispensable to this energy transition if we wish to both secure energy supplies and curb CO2 emission levels. Although the share of natural gas in the total energy supply must fall, the Netherlands can continue to be a major producer of natural gas for decades to come. GasTerra seeks to achieve a responsible transition to sustainability, i.e. with a view to both economic and environmental interests. We are guided by the principles of corporate social responsibility (CSR): People, Planet, Profit. A focus on customers, a focus on results and a focus on improvement are GasTerra's three core values. These are the values that our staff adopt as a starting point for all their business dealings, working in conformity with a code of conduct in which integrity and respect serve as guiding principles. The company seeks to build long-lasting business relationships with market operators and to enter into agreements that reflect the value of natural gas and its associated services. 

Our chain

We are part of a chain which includes all activities from extraction to use of natural gas. GasTerra is active as a trader of the gas. This brings us into contact with producers, suppliers and clients, but also with network operators, market regulators and authorities that draw up laws and regulations. We also deal with parties on trading points.

GasTerra is the sole buyer of Groningen gas. Considerable attention has been paid to Groningen gas extraction in recent years. The government has decided to restrict gas extraction from this field on safety grounds because of the earthquakes. As NAM produces the gas, NAM is responsible for implementing these decisions. GasTerra’s role is to buy the gas offered to us by NAM.

In addition to Groningen gas, GasTerra also buys gas from small Dutch fields. This is also a statutory public task under the Gas Act. This Act means that we do not have a free choice of which producer we do or do not buy gas from in the Netherlands. We expect producers to comply with the legislation and environmental and safety rules in force in the Netherlands. On 7 September 2017 the Dutch gas sector signed the initial version of the “code of conduct on gas extraction from small fields”. The code of conduct lays down general guidelines for protecting the environment in the context of oil and gas projects in small onshore fields. This code of conduct is the sector’s way of fulfilling its wish to be an engaged, reliable and approachable player in the environment. GasTerra applauds initiatives that can lead to greater support for gas production and exploration in the Netherlands.

We also have long-term contracts for the purchase of gas from Germany, the United Kingdom, Norway and Russia. Production from these foreign sources is linked to the regulations in force in those countries.

We are members of various cooperative associations dealing with the use of gas. In this context, we present the role of gas in a climate-neutral energy supply, based on the “Gas by Design” vision developed by KGVN. We support clients in their efforts to make production processes more sustainable (we call this the Environmental Plan for Industry), share knowledge about energy and help to develop innovative gas applications. We also stimulate the production of renewable gas and innovation/research in this area.

Our market and environment

Groningen supply

We sell all the gas produced in the Netherlands that is offered to us. The Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy determines the maximum amount of gas that can be extracted from the Groningen field. In the 2016/2017 gas year (1 October 2016 to 1 October 2017), NAM’s total production of natural gas from the Groningen field was 23.98 billion cubic metres, in line with the production ceiling of 24 billion cubic metres.

The statement by the Council of State on 15 November 2017 revoked the decisions of the Minister of 30 September 2016 (5 years 24 billion cubic metres per gas year from 1 October 2016) and 24 May 2017 (reduction to 21.6 billion cubic metres from 1 October 2017). The minister has to reach a new decision on gas extraction. The Council of State has made a provisional ruling stating that gas extraction can take place according to the amended decision of 24 May 2017 (specifying 21.6 billion cubic metres with the option to extract more in a year that is colder than average) until the minister’s new decision takes effect.

Social and political pressure to further reduce Groningen gas extraction is rising as a result of recent earthquakes. The desire to accelerate the reduction in production is due primarily to the safety issues in Groningen, but also to the need to cut the share of fossil fuels in energy supply.

Discussions on the production and use of Groningen gas have accelerated following the recent earthquake in Zeerijp which took place on 8 January 2018 and measured 3.4 on the Richter scale. The new minister for Economic Affairs and Climate has agreed a new compensation protocol with the parties concerned. GasTerra does  not play a role in this, but recognises the important of regulations that satisfy all parties involved. Another ministerial priority is the fall in demand for low-calorific Groningen gas. He is in discussions with large industries in the Netherlands about alternatives. He is also looking at options to reduce exports and whether the construction of a new nitrogen plant, converting high-calorific gas to low-calorific gas, can offer a solution. All these options are complex and time-consuming. There has been much public discussion of our long-term contracts with foreign clients. It is important to realise that demand for Groningen gas is determined not by the contracts but by physical use. Millions of households in north-west Europe rely on low-calorific gas, and they cannot switch overnight.

For us, these recent developments mean that the quantity of Groningen gas in our portfolio will remain uncertain in the years to come. Our Business Risk Analysis shows that this has already been defined as one of the major risks (see risk section). Over the past few years we have learned to deal with this uncertainty. 

Supply from small fields

Most small fields are coming to the end of their production cycle. Gas production from small Dutch gas fields has fallen considerably in recent years, mainly because of the high depletion of existing fields. Investment in drilling new small fields has also been very limited as a result of the relatively low level of gas prices, the relatively high costs of production from new fields and a decline in social acceptance. This has led to a fall in supply among existing contracts. It is also shown by the number of exploratory drillings in 2017: the lowest figure in 50 years. 

 

Exploratory drillings

There have also been positive developments. The gas price recovered somewhat last year, and a gas field to the north of Schiermonikoog was discovered by Hansa Hydrocarbons. 


Gas demand and conversion

European gas demand
Gas demand in Europe[1] was approximately 587 billion cubic metres in 2017; the highest level since 2011 (Source: Wood Mackenzie publication “Europe gas supply 2017 in review”). Demand for gas rose in the electricity sector in particular as a result of a fall in hydropower and nuclear energy generation and high coal prices. The rise is also due to cold weather at the start of the year and a higher demand for gas from industry.

Russian and Norwegian gas supplies to the European Union reached record highs in 2017. Member States are becoming increasingly dependent on gas produced outside the Union because their own production is declining. This is certainly also true for the Netherlands because of falls in production from the Groningen field and small fields.  

During the climate summit in Paris in 2015 agreements were reached on a number of issues, including the desired reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2. They relate to the reduction in energy consumption, the use of sustainable alternatives, and less polluting choices for fossil energy. At the climate summit in Bonn several European countries, including the Netherlands, presented an initiative to end electricity production from coal before 2030. This could lead to an increased demand for gas in the electricity sector. For the Netherlands, the European agreements will be integrated into a climate law that should be ready in broad outlines in 2018.

Development of demand for gas in the Netherlands
Gas is used for various energy functions in the Netherlands: low-temperature heat, high-temperature heat, power and light, mobility and as a raw material. It is clear that natural gas continues to play a significant role in a number of these energy functions (in 2017 approximately 38 bln. m3) (Source: NEV 2017, m3 (35,17)), but this will decline in future. The climate policy target of an 80-95% CO2 reduction in 2050 puts a great deal of pressure on natural gas in the energy mix. Savings and replacement by renewable energy will cut demand for natural gas. In a climate-neutral energy supply, natural gas can still play an important part in combination with CCS (capture and storage of CO2).

In the low-temperature heat function, gas is an important source of energy for heating homes and various other buildings such as shops, schools and office premises, greenhouses and for industrial processes. It is expected that the use of gas for these applications will fall in the future thanks to the application of insulating measures and increased sustainability. This increase in sustainability can come about through the use of green gas in central heating systems and hybrid heat pumps, the use of sustainable electricity in (hybrid) heat pumps and the use of sustainable heat (from geothermal sources and biomass) in heat networks.

As well as being an important energy source in the form of high-temperature heat for industrial processes, gas is also used as a raw material especially for the production of artificial fertiliser. The use of CCS can also offer a solution here, in addition to electrification and the use of biomass as a sustainable raw material and fuel. CCS can be applied after combustion by filtering the CO2 out from the exhaust gases. But application before combustion is more efficient. Converting gas into hydrogen and CO2 allows the CO2 to be captured quite easily. The remaining hydrogen can take on the role of natural gas as a fuel and raw material. Hydrogen from electrification of surplus sustainable electricity can also be used here.

The power and light energy function relies on the production of electricity. Electricity generation will have to be stepped up to meet the rising demand for electricity as a result of electrification of mobility and heat. Gas still plays a role here, but sustainable energy from wind and solar sources will play an increasingly important role. The role of gas may rise temporarily to some extent depending on when the production of electricity from coal comes to an end. Gas may retain a longer-term role in highly efficient energy production (CHP) and as back-up. This is partly due to the development of alternative technologies for the storage of electricity, opportunities of demand response or the opportunity to increase flexibility of supply from other countries following the expansion of international electricity connections.

Finally, gas still plays a minor role in the mobility energy function: as CNG in buses and cars and as LNG in freight vehicles and ships. The proposals in the government agreement for emission-free new cars from 2030 onwards mean that CNG probably has no future in cars. (Bio)LNG in freight vehicles and ships could certainly contribute to cutting emissions in the mobility function and could therefore bring about a limited increase in demand for (bio)LNG.

Conversion (from L-gas and to H-gas)
As a result of the fall in production of Groningen gas, plans are being developed in Germany, Belgium and France to convert gas equipment from Groningen low-calorific gas (L-gas) to high-calorific gas (H-gas). Almost 100,000 items of gas equipment were converted from L-gas to H-gas in Germany in 2017. The latest report from the German network operators states that this number will rise to 200,000 in 2018, 300,000 in 2019, 400,000 in 2020 and over 500,000 a year in 2021 and beyond. Exports of L-gas to Germany will therefore start to decline year on year from winter 2019/2020.

Belgium and France are launching their first conversion projects, regarded as pilots, in 2018. Conversion will gradually build up in both countries from 2020 onwards, and so exports of L-gas will decrease year on year. As a result, exports of L-gas will steadily decline between 2020 and 2029. Exports of L-gas  are expected to cease in 2030.

Until recently, conversion in the Netherlands was not thought to be likely. In the 2016 energy agenda, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy still stated that conversion was not necessary in principle. However, the government agreement does refer to some conversion in the industry. Recent developments following the earthquake in Zeerijp have accelerated this debate.

 


[1] Europe consists here of the following countries: Albania, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, the Czech Republic, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Switzerland.


Trading points

Volume of trade
Much of the trade in natural gas takes place on trading points, called hubs, via  exchanges or via brokers. The largest gas hubs in Europe are the Title Transfer Facility (TTF) in the Netherlands and the National Balancing Point (NBP) in the United Kingdom. After the TTF, the most liquid are the German trading points NetConnect Germany (NCG) and Gaspool.  

Volume of trade

Sources: GTS, National Grid, ICE NetConnect Germany, Gaspool

The volume of trade on the TTF was stable in 2017, while the figure on the NBP rose slightly. The volume of trade on the TTF in 2017 was 2,146 billion cubic metres (2016: 2,197 billion cubic metres). The volume of trade on the NBP rose to 2,268 billion cubic metres. The volume of trade on the TTF was higher than on the NBP since the start of 2016, but it was overtaken by the NBP between April and October 2017. TTTF regained its lead over NBP in November 2017.

The volume of trade on the German hubs was still limited compared to the figures for TTF and NBP.  In 2017, 236 billion cubic metres was traded on NCG and 160 billion cubic metres on Gaspool.

TTF is the most liquid of all the European hubs with regard to trade in products that lie further in the future, such as calendar years and seasons. This means that TTF is an important trading point for GasTerra. The TTF is the main price marker in continental Europe for long-term contracts and for gas on the other trading points.

The Within Day market on TTF has developed further in recent years. The volume of trade in 2016 was 38 TWh. In 2017 this rose to 44 TWh, an increase of 14%. The present size of the Within Day market offers GasTerra the opportunity to use this market to balance its portfolio. GasTerra has been making active use of this market since the end of 2016.

Development of TTF Within Day trading per month

Source: Trayport

Prices
On average, prices on the TTF were higher than in 2016. The annually averaged day-ahead price was 3.2 eurocent/cubic metre higher than in 2016, while the annually averaged month-ahead price was 3.1 eurocent/metre higher.

This recovery is due to a number of factors, including the higher oil price, good economic performance, higher than expected demand in Asia and greater use of gas-fired power stations than of coal-fired power stations in the electricity sector.

The rise in worldwide LNG production has not yet led to an increase in shipping of LNG to Europe, because demand for gas in Asia has risen more strongly than expected. This has meant that the expected downward pressure on European gas prices has not yet taken place.

Development of monthly average TTF prices

Source: ICIS Heren

Clients

The creditworthiness of major energy companies has fallen in recent years, but now seems to be stabilising. The difficult situation in the electricity market and Germany’s decision to abandon the use of nuclear energy are among the causes of this fall. Energy firms have engaged in an efficiency drive to survive this. The switch from fossil to sustainable sources is a recent new factor. For example, E.ON and RWE have split sustainable and fossil, and Engie has formulated a new strategy based on restructuring the company and investing in technologies of the future.

GasTerra is facing a change in clients’ strategies on the Dutch market as well. New, small, efficient parties have been created, and existing parties are up for sale or have already been sold (Eneco, Delta and PZEM). GasTerra is also having to deal with shifts in customer wishes. For example, customers are asking for green gas.

Regulation

GasTerra faces regulation at national and European level that impacts its business operations. We monitor regulatory developments at European and national level, and try to influences policy decisions where this is possible and rational. When new regulations are introduced, the company does its best to ensure that it can comply with these obligations in a timely fashion.

The European Parliament adopted the Regulation in Energy Markets Integrity and Transparency (REMIT) for the energy sector in 2011. This sector-specific regulation prohibits insider trading and market manipulation. There is also a European regulation which contains the same prohibitions, but focusing mainly on financial instruments (Market Abuse Regulation/MAR), and this regulation also applies to part of GasTerra's activities. REMIT also requires market operators to comply with extensive reporting obligations, and GasTerra has set up the necessary procedures for this.

The revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) came into force for energy companies that trade in financial instruments on 3 January 2018. GasTerra makes use of the ‘ancillary activity exemption’, because trade in contracts that qualify as financial instruments under MIFID II is an ancillary activity of GasTerra’s main business.

In mid-2017, the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) established the method to be used to set the tariffs for Gasunie Transport Services (GTS) for the period from 2017 to 2021. A new feature in the 2017-2021 Method Decision (MB2017-2021) was the introduction of an efficiency benchmark, comparing the operation of GTS with that of various European TSOs. In early 2017 GTS and ACM came to an agreement on the application of the benchmark and a number of other unresolved disputes.

The agreement provides for around € 600 million to be returned to the market between 2017 and 2021, and for relative security and stability in GTS tariffs until 2021. GasTerra supported this agreement via the sectoral organisation Energie-Nederland. This resulted in much lower tariffs in 2017, which recovered in 2018.

In April 2017, ACM and GTS started a trajectory to implement the European Netcode Tariffs (NC TAR) in the Netherlands. One of the proposed changes is to switch to a different distribution of income from entry points and exit points, and to move to a single postage stamp tariff for all GTS network points. The ACM’s final proposal will be put out to the market for consultation in early 2018. GasTerra is closely involved in this topic. The network code will be fully operational in the Netherlands from 1 January 2020.

From 1 November 2018, the Network Code CAM will require the introduction of Virtual Interconnection Points. This means that various border points will be grouped together in a new virtual point. Making border points virtual should encourage trade among gas markets. GTS planned to implement this in October 2018, but this has been put on hold for the time being due to lack of clarity as to how implementation is to take place. It is not yet clear how and when VIPs will be implemented in the Netherlands.  

In dialogue with our stakeholders

We regularly hold discussions with our stakeholders in order to know what society expects of GasTerra. We have identified the following stakeholders: 

In addition to the regular discussions that we hold with stakeholders, we conducted a stakeholder dialogue this year. Surveys and follow-up interviews were carried out to log the opinions of stakeholders on a number of issues. The stakeholder dialogue enabled us to determine material themes that serve as input for our strategy. These material issues are described in this report.

Material issues

Material issues

Compliance with guidelines and frameworks

The extent to which GasTerra chooses to comply with generally applicable guidelines and frameworks, such as GRI, Sustainable Development Goals and ISO norms.

Internal footprint

The extent to which GasTerra minimises its own environmental footprint.

Knowledge

The extent to which GasTerra acquires, develops and shares knowledge.

Contractual obligation

The extent to which GasTerra complies with its contractual obligations by having enough gas in the portfolio at every point in the year.

Economic performance

The extent to which GasTerra contributes to the operating result of its shareholders.

Support for activities

The extent to which GasTerra creates support for its activities.

Sustainable deployability

The extent to which GasTerra creates a good working environment, with a suitable culture and structure, and encourages employees to develop.

Sustainable energy supply

The extent to which GasTerra contributes to the sustainable energy supply.

Compliance with guidelines and frameworks

The extent to which GasTerra chooses to comply with generally applicable guidelines and frameworks, such as GRI, Sustainable Development Goals and ISO norms.

Internal footprint

The extent to which GasTerra minimises its own environmental footprint.

Knowledge

The extent to which GasTerra acquires, develops and shares knowledge.

Involvement in the region

The extent to which GasTerra is involved in the North Netherlands region.

Within the strategic pillars of volume, price, costs and anticipation, the material issues are converted into aims for 2018. These are then connected to the risks arising from the Business Risk Analysis to produce the following connectivity matrix. 

Material theme Strategic pillar Aim for 2018 Business risk
Contractual obligation Volume GasTerra will be fully in compliance with its contractual obligations. Supply from the Groningen field
Supply from small fields
Economic performance Volume
Price

Costs
GasTerra will sell all the gas offered to GasTerra.

We will make the maximum possible use of resources such as storage facilities in our portfolio.

We will try to make a margin on our purchases and sales.

We will use the market potential for optimisation.

The running costs will remain within budget in the 2018 calendar year.
Creditworthiness

Transmission costs
Sustainable deployability Costs
Anticipation
There will be 0 accidents leading to time off work, and the sick leave percentage will be below 2.5% in the 2018 calendar year. 

GasTerra will achieve the reduction in the number of ftes proposed in the GasTerra 2018 reorganisation trajectory.

We will develop a strategic staff plan with an appropriate HR policy for the future.
Organisation
Sustainable energy supply Anticipation We will take part in projects under the Strategic Agenda of GILDE (Gas as part of Long-term Sustainable Energy Management). We will lead the Green Gas project and contribute to the Hybrid Heat Pumps and Hydrogen themes.

We will have an energy transition budget that we wish to devote to key issues from our energy transition policy.

We will investigate whether GasTerra’s involvement in renewable gases offers a sufficient basis for a business case.
Image
Support for activities Anticipation GasTerra wants to contribute to ensuring that the Netherlands makes the transition to a climate-neutral energy supply in a rational manner. GasTerra embraces the vision of the Dutch gas sector “Gas by Design”) that natural gas should only be used where there are currently no more sustainable alternatives and where this has the greatest added value for society.

In 2018 we will continue our efforts to help the northern Netherlands develop into an energy (transition) knowledge centre.
Image

In 2018 we need to create a picture for ourselves of what GasTerra will look like in the future. The mission of our company, maximising the value of Dutch natural gas, has not changed. However, we must continue to reflect on our role in the gas chain and what our contribution to the energy transition is. The internal organisation is also important here. By means of strategic staff planning we want to determine what competencies we need in the organisation and what HR policy is required here.

GasTerra wants to use the energy-related knowledge and skills present in the business, as well as opportunities in the area of new gases. In this context, we focus particularly on green gas and hydrogen. The production of green gas offers a green future perspective for out product, while green gas production is limited. Hydrogen became an increasing focus of attention last year, especially in northern Netherlands. In 2018 we will investigate whether GasTerra’s involvement in renewable gases offers a sufficient basis for a business case.

Inputs

GasTerra

Gas

Total volume 56.6 bln m3

  • Groningen field
  • Small fields
  • Virtual trading points
  • Import
  • Green Gas
GasTerra

Gas market

  • Fluctuating gas price
  • Gas contracts
  • Licences
  • Trading partners
  • Underground gas storage
GasTerra

Organisation

  • 152.4 FTE
  • 165 employees
  • Diversity
  • Working conditions
  • Head office Groningen
GasTerra

Knowledge and systems

  • Knowledge of the gas market
  • IT systems
GasTerra

Finance

  • Equity € 216 mln
  • Investments € 1.8 mln
GasTerra

Society

  • Stakeholders
  • Image of gas

Business Model

To maximise the value of Dutch natural gas

Anticipation

GasTerra anticipates a changing environment and listens to its stakeholders so that opportunities and threats can be identified and GasTerra can continue to fulfil its mission of value maximisation in the future.

Volume

GasTerra aims to sell the entire volume of gas offered to GasTerra.

Price

GasTerra aims to achieve a price in line with the market with the highest possible margin for the entire portfolio.

Costs

GasTerra ensures that there is the right balance between costs on the one hand and value and care on the other hand.

  • Governance
  • Risk management
  • Public Relations
  • Public Affairs

Outputs

GasTerra

Gas

Total volume 56.6 bln m3

  • Gas sales
  • Long-term contracts
  • TTF sales
GasTerra

Gas market

  • 100% compliance with contractual obligations
  • 39.9 bln m3 of gas purchased (Groningen field and small fields)
GasTerra

Organisation

  • 121 men, 44 women
  • 1.6% sickness absence
  • Safety/accidents
GasTerra

Knowledge and systems

  • Training costs 1.03% of total staff costs
  • Training and career opportunities
  • 99.98% availability of highly critical systems
GasTerra

Finance

  • Turnover € 9,601 mln
  • Net profit € 36 mln
  • Working capital € 202.9 mln
  • S&P credit rating AA+ (Negative Outlook)
GasTerra

Society

  • Transparency benchmark score 168 in 2017
  • Sharing and developing knowledge about energy (transition)
  • Supporting energy transition projects
  • Improving the sustainability of industrial clients
  • Sponsorship in the region
  • Local procurement of facilities worth 7.5 million euros

Outcomes

GasTerra

Gas

  • Security of supply of the company’s own portfolio
  • Good relations with clients and suppliers
  • Benefits of natural gas
GasTerra

Green

  • Sharing and developing knowledge of the role of gas in the energy supply in R&D, education, and public debate
  • Contributing to the rational transition to a climate-neutral energy supply
GasTerra

Groningen

  • High-quality job opportunities in the region
  • Making a valuable contribution to the local community

Summary of financial results

  2017 2016
Income and expenditure in millions of euros    
Net turnover 9,601 9,865
Gas purchases 9,227 9,263
Transmission costs 287 501
     
Profits in millions of euros    
Profit before tax 48 48
Net profit 36 36
Dividend 36 36
     
Other financial information    
Investments (in millions of euros) 1.8 1.2
Liquidity ratio 1.1 1.1
     
Balance sheet data, in millions of euros    
Total assets 1,802 1,995
Shareholders' equity 216 216
Current liabilities 1,586 1,779
     
Volumes sold in billions of cubic metres    
Total sales 56.6 63.9
-The Netherlands 23.5 23.1
-Rest of Europe 33.1 40.8
     
Personnel year-end, in full-time equivalents    
Company staff 152.4 165
     
Health & safety    
Sickness absence (in %) 1.6 3
Average absenteeism rate 1.03 0.89

The solvency of GasTerra is not representative because of the agreements among the various entities in the gas building (see the financial statements). One of them is the transfer price for Groningen gas, as a result of which GasTerra makes a fixed profit of 36 million euros. This profit is fully distributed each year on the basis of a proposal from the management. Consequently, our shareholders’ equity is fixed, at 180 million euros.

Investments are not material, and relate mainly to the capitalised costs of software developed in-house to support the business processes.