1902: Dutch State Mines is founded
EBN’s history starts in 1902 with Staatsmijnen in Limburg (later rebranded to DSM, an acronym of the English name ‘Dutch State Mines’), which was founded by the Dutch State to exploit the underground coal reserves in Limburg. Later the production of ammonia and fertiliser began, in addition to the mining of coal.
1959: Groningen gas field is discovered
In 1959, a large natural gas field was discovered underground in the province of Groningen. The Dutch State had to ensure that the natural gas extraction was profitable. Dutch society had to benefit as much as possible from this too. So, the Dutch government deemed that it needed to play a prominent role in the extraction and sale of natural gas.
1963: Commercialising the subsurface
In 1963, the Dutch State designated Staatsmijnen to hold a stake in the extraction and sale of natural gas. In the same year, a Cooperation Agreement was signed by Staatsmijnen, NAM, Shell and Esso, the legal predecessor of ExxonMobil. The purpose of this agreement was to coordinate the extraction, transmission and sale of Groningen gas and the transmission and sale of natural gas extracted elsewhere in the Netherlands.
On conclusion of the agreement, Maatschap Groningen (Groningen Partnership) was formed to manage the production of natural gas from Groningen. Nederlandse Staatsmijnen (currently EBN) had a 40% stake in this partnership and NAM had a 60% stake. The Dutch State also received a 10% royalty on gross profit.
NAM (a joint venture of Shell and Esso) was responsible for the actual gas extraction operations. The public-private partnership N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie was founded to sell and distribute the natural gas. Staatsmijnen had a 40% interest in the company, Shell and Esso each had a 25% stake, and the Dutch State held the remaining 10% share. The partnership was split in 2005 to form Gasunie and GasTerra. Gasunie was required by law to purchase all natural gas offered to it (including non-Groningen gas).
1973: DSM Aardgas B.V. is founded
In 1973, all government holdings in Dutch gas were transferred to the separate legal entity DSM Aardgas B.V. When DSM was floated in 1989, the State acquired all shares of DSM Aardgas B.V. At the same time, the name DSM Aardgas B.V. was changed to Energie Beheer Nederland B.V. (EBN). The various functions and the working relationship with DSM remained unchanged.
2006: EBN sets out on its own
On 1 January 2006, DSM’s governance of EBN also came to an end; EBN has since been an independent company where the Executive Team reports to an independent Supervisory Board. In mid-2006, EBN opened an office in Utrecht.
2008: Public functions defined in the Mining Act
On 1 January 2008, the office in Utrecht became the head office and the office in Heerlen was closed. In 2008, EBN’s specific public functions were set out in the Mining Act, including:
- holding a stake in the exploration and production of oil and gas;
- holding a stake in production-related activities, including the sales, transmission and storage of natural gas and oil;
- performing functions relating to the partnership between the Dutch State, Shell and ExxonMobil (the Gasgebouw); and
- performing other functions in the general interest of energy policy.
In 2011, EBN’s legal name was changed to EBN B.V.
2016: A new strategy
In 2016, EBN formulated three strategic priorities: in addition to natural gas and oil (Our Dutch Gas), the focus was now placed on the dismantling and reuse of infrastructure (Return to Nature) and the development of new forms of energy (New Energy).
2017: Reuse and geothermal energy
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy assigned EBN to map out the Dutch subsurface to determine the potential for geothermal energy. We also stood at the foundation of the Geothermal Heat Master Plan, together with various partners. And together with NOGEPA (ElementNL), we initiated the Nexstep platform aimed at reusing and dismantling the infrastructure.
2019: A new mission
In 2019, EBN’s mission was changed to: As the combined strength in the energy transition, EBN is deploying the value of the subsurface for a sustainable future above ground. This year, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy also granted EBN a mandate to hold a stake in all geothermal energy projects. In addition, we launched the SCAN programme together with TNO and we took the first steps towards large-scale carbon storage projects.
2023: North Sea Agreement partner
Together with the Dutch State and stakeholders, EBN concluded the North Sea Agreement on choices and policy aimed at the balance in activities in the North Sea, concerning the energy transition, nature recovery and the future of fishing. EBN was also given the go-ahead to take out a stake in the Porthos CCS project.
2022: Building a sustainable energy system together, faster
There is growing urgency for the energy transition and EBN adjusted its strategy accordingly. Based on our mission ‘Towards a sustainable energy system together, faster’, we are working on a sustainable gas system, a sustainable heat transition and responsible carbon storage. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate appointed EBN to fill the gas storage facility at Bergermeer.