Gaz De France Buy Pipelines For $103 Million

Gaz de France, France's dominant natural gas company, will be able to buy the gas pipelines owned by the French government for 108.7 million euros ($103 million), the Paris based Les Echos has reported, without citing its sources.

The amount that GDF will pay is the difference between the purchase price of 5.04 billion euros and the 4.93 billion euros the state will owe the utility as reimbursements for canceling concessions to the company, the French daily said.

The company, which is state owned, runs about nine tenths of France's 34,000 kilometers (21,100 miles) of gas pipelines. TotalFinaElf, which operates about 4,500 kilometers of pipe in the southwest, will pay about ten million euros for its part of the network, Les Echos said.

Buying the pipelines would enable Gaz de France and TotalFinaElf to keep control over the gas they sell and keep the network out of the hands of rivals. Companies such as Ruhrgas of Germany and Eni SpA of Italy are expanding their gas businesses outside their borders as Europe's gas markets open up to more competition.

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