You present this morning of the half-year results lower than in 2006. How do you explain this faux pas
The results of gas of France are certainly indented on the first six months of the year, but it must be remembered that we have had the warmest winter since a century and that temperatures were also higher than the average in the spring. Despite this adverse context, the downturn remains limited and the results greatly exceed those of the first half of 2005. The gas of France model thus shows its very strong resistance. The balance of our activities is true. This is why I turn serenely to the second part of the year: our commitments will be respected and I confirm the financial goals that we have set for 2007.
Eighteen months after its announcement, the proposed merger with Suez seems more than ever in the impasse. Where are your discussions with the Government
The project is not dead. The time of the final guidelines sometimes. Contrary to what can be said, the past few months have been very active. Between the two companies, all issues outstanding, such as the name of the future set for example, have been resolved. Remains to get the agreement of our shareholders. We know the position of the main of them, the State (see above, note). I have said on several occasions and I remain convinced: the merger with Suez is a very fine industrial project, which would give rise to a plan first actor in the Europe of the energy. I hope that our friends from Suez are not necessary so that it can be presented at our respective boards as soon as possible. It is for them to give an answer. The issue worth.
Do you think be fixed quickly
The authorization given to us by the European Commission will expire soon. We will need to request an extension. There is no date Cleaver but soon would of course be the best.
In the hypothesis where the merger would be abandoned, is it true that the Government has tasked you to prepare a report on the various strategic options for gas of France
They do nothing asked me such at this stage.
The question however: gas of France is able to develop only
France gas is ready, in all of the assumptions. We have to profit the last six months to arrange our activities to make us more responsive, more efficient. We have many projects of development of all our activities and investments. The acquisition of the Stublach storage site in England, is the first of them. Others materialize soon, I hope, in infrastructure as in the exploration-production or electricity. The company is mobilized and will be a major player in the new European energy world.
Concerning this new storage across site, can if surprised at the price paid 500 million euros for now untapped land. In the European gas landscape, is it so important to dispose of assets of this type
There are very few dug England gas storage. Until recently, the country could count on its own gas production in the North Sea and therefore had the flexibility to balance supply and demand for gas. This is no longer the case. In General, flexibility tools reduce Europe and storage take a strategic value. In view of our assets and our experience in this field, we are convinced that we will have a key role to play in the future on this niche and that we can learn much of value. The 500 million correspond to the development of the whole of the cavities we dig. This is a very nice project.
Prepare what other investments in gas infrastructure
We are working on a project of LNG in Italy, in the Marche region. We are now at the stage of preliminary studies and soon commence the process of administrative permissions. We are open to partnerships with other operators.
The European Commission must submit its new proposals on the separation of electrical and gas networks in a few weeks. Fear the collapse of gas of France
Contrary to conventional wisdom, gas of France is not a holding of standstill. We want more Europe for better programming large European investment, develop interconnections, better manage the gas transit. We want more regulation at Community level and we believe that technical standards should be further harmonised.
However, we remain totally opposed to the separation of ownership of the networks, which are essential for gas operators and are generally only assets. But we must have strong players from the countries, which for the most part are not Europeans. The separation of the networks improve competition, in any way and that I am intimately convinced. This does not prevent me to remain open to all discussions to ensure their independence.
The Government will shortly launch the reform of the special pension plans. How prepare the site for high risk
In the field of pensions, reform is necessary, having regard to the prolongation of life. Greater convergence between the systems of the French is desirable, lawful. But he must avoid the cartoons and not against the French: regimes are complex and different. If certain provisions of our system are more favourable, others are less. EDF and gas of France also, there are many small pensions. For my part, I support the maintenance of a special regime for the electric and gas industry employees.