Entrepreneur in subsurface

In the early sixties, a large gas field was found under Groningen. It was deemed necessary that the Dutch state would play a prominent role in the extraction and distribution of this gas. The state had to ensure the gas could be extracted in a cost-effective and commercially responsible manner and that Dutch society would profit from this as much as possible.

The state appointed Staatsmijnen (later DSM) for the practical execution of the participation. In 1963, Staatsmijnen, Shell and ExxonMobil entered into a Cooperation Agreement (CA). Objective of this CA was to coordinate the extraction, transportation and distribution of Groningen natural gas and the distribution of gas extracted elsewhere in the Netherlands.

When the CA was entered into, the Groningen Partnership was established to manage the production of Groningen natural gas. In this partnership, DSM (nowadays EBN) has a 40 percent interest, Shell and Esso both have an interest of 30 percent. On top of that, the State receives a royalty of 10 percent on the gross profit.

The NAM (Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij, a joint venture of Shell and ExxonMobil) is responsible for the actual extraction of the gas. For the sale of the gas, the public limited company Nederlandse Gasunie was established. Staatsmijnen participated for 40 percent, with Shell and Exxonmobil each participated with an interest of 25 percent and the state participated directly with an interest of 10 percent. Gasunie was obliged to purchase all the offered gas (including non-Groningen gas).

DSM becomes EBN

In order to achieve more clarity concerning the gas interests, all government holdings in Dutch natural gas were transferred to the separate legal entity DSM Aardgas B.V. in 1973, with shares remaining the property of DSM. During the flotation of DSM in 1989, the state took over all shares of DSM Aardgas B.V. At the same time the name of DSM Aardgas B.V. was changed into Energie Beheer Nederland B.V. (EBN). The range of tasks and the working relationship with DSM remained unchanged.

Per 1 January 2006, DSM’s managerial responsibility for EBN also came to an end. Since then, EBN is an independent company where the management reports to an independent supervisory board. Halfway through 2006, EBN opened an office in Utrecht. On 1 January 2008, the office in Utrecht became the head office and the office in Heerlen was closed.

Public tasks

In 2008, the public tasks of EBN were recorded in the Mining Act. Amongst other things, these tasks include:

  • Participating in the exploration for and extraction of oil and gas;
  • Participating in extraction related activities, including the sales, transport and storage of natural gas and oil;
  • Performing tasks related to the Gas Building;
  • Performing other tasks by order of the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK) and consulting the minister.

In 2011, EBN’s statutory name was changed into EBN B.V.

New mission

Since 2017, the mission of EBN has shifted to achieving value from geological energy sources in a safe, sustainable and economically responsible manner. EBN does this by means of three strategic priorities:

  • Our Dutch Gas: optimum exploitation of Dutch gas resources;
  • Return to Nature: taking a leading role in decommissioning and contributing to the development of CO2 storage;
  • New Energy: contributing to an acceleration in the development of (ultra-deep) geothermal energy and energy storage.