VNG 2030+ strategy

Our path into the future

It is no longer enough to look ten years into the future to understand and help shape the fundamental change that is currently looming in the energy sector. Consequently, we are also focusing on the world of natural gas in the far future: For example, whilst what are known as green gases currently account for less than one percent of total natural gas consumption today, this ratio will be reversed within a few decades – with considerable effects on our business and the entire energy sector.

On the other hand, natural gas can and will continue to play a crucial role in reducing CO2 emissions in all areas of society and achieving European climate change objectives. At the same time, an interconnected mindset and method of operating will become a key competence across all areas and sectors. Our proactive approach to these and other megatrends is reflected in our VNG 2030+ strategy. This is the key to our future growth – and to a functioning energy system in the future.

The goal in sight

There is no question that even in an increasingly complex energy market, we want to offer our partners and customers the right gas and energy services and products. This is why we initiated a groupwide strategy process in 2017 entitled VNG 2030+. In so doing, we have developed a strategic outlook for VNG that is geared not only to financial requirements but also, and in particular, to challenging energy policy and social requirements. This is how we intend to hold our own in the face of intense competition with evolving challenges while leveraging earnings potential.

Within the scope of our realignment, we are taking a two-pronged approach: In our established Trading & Sales, Transport and Storage areas of business, our focus is on further optimising our operational performance. In addition, we are continuously identifying growth opportunities in adjacent business areas. The year 2018 was dominated by this objective and saw us achieve the initial positive results. A major initial milestone was the sale of our exploration and production business. In conjunction with the conclusion of a syndicated loan agreement, we thus created further financial freedom for the implementation of our strategy in the coming years.

New prospects for VNG

We are systematically diversifying our activities by developing adjacent and new business areas. In this process, we are focusing on issues that also have a significant impact on the energy policy environment and are important keys to mitigating climate change, enhancing supply security and making headway in the field of integrated energy.

As a competence-based field of growth, green gases are particularly important to us: they can be used and stored flexibly and can make a major contribution to reducing CO2 emissions in the heating market, in the transport sector and in industrial manufacturing. This is what makes them an important part of the renewable energy mix. As part of the VNG 2030+ strategy, we have set a goal of growing in this area – which we also achieved in 2018 with BALANCE VNG Bioenergie GmbH. The company focuses on investing and making advances in biogas and renewable natural gas system concepts. In addition, we are increasingly focusing on projects and our own pilot projects around hydrogen.

When it comes to digitisation, we not only examine our internal processes, but also potential new areas of business. As such, we have identified digital infrastructures as a growth area. The advantage here is that our core competencies in the reliable operation of critical infrastructure such as transport networks and storage facilities can also be applied to the transport and storage of data. We invest in the expansion and operation of digital infrastructure via our shareholdings. On the basis of this approach, we are striving to become one of the leading independent providers of infrastructure-based secure data services.

Holistic thinking is particularly important in the planning, implementation and operation of demand-driven district solutions – from generating heat to power, mobility, telecommunications and energy efficiency. Our subsidiary VNG ViertelEnergie GmbH has specialised in this area and, together with its Leipzig-based partner Tilia GmbH, supports local municipalities in developing and implementing forward-looking solutions.

Green, digital, gas-based

We view ourselves as a company proactively shaping the energy transition. In this context, our vision is to make VNG green, digital, and gas-based:

  • Green, because a modern energy system must be sustainable and renewable, green gases will be an important partner for renewable energies.
  • Digital, because smart processes play a key role in integrated energy and in establishing and coordinating infrastructures.
  • Gas-based, because gas is particularly climate-efficient, encompasses numerous technologies for the future and is an energy source that can be turned green.
Driving innovation
VNG Querdenker
As a group with many decades of tradition, we want to remain true to our roots. At the same time, we also embrace fresh ideas and want to continue gradually enhancing our innovation management. Last year, for example, we established a new IT platform for the group-wide generation and development of ideas and launched various innovation campaigns. Through our subsidiary VNG Innovation GmbH and its investments in up-and-coming companies, we maintain close ties with young thought leaders in the industry. And through our partnership with Leipzig-based SpinLab – The HHL Accelerator, we are systematically positioning ourselves as a strategic partner for start-ups within the framework of the Smart Infrastructure Hub.
Gas can do it all
Since the UN climate conference in Paris, decarbonisation has been one of the key concepts of our time. In light of this, we believe that our company with gas as its nucleus offers a solution for the energy transition. The fact is that the energy transition can only succeed if we demonstrably reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An important option here is to make greater use of gas as an energy source. For example, replacing outdated heating systems offers enormous potential – innovative gas-based systems can cut CO2 emissions by up to 40 percent compared to old heating systems. When it comes to power generation, gas-fired power plants also offer major advantages: they halve emissions compared to coal and optimally supplement volatile renewable energies thanks to their ability to be managed flexibly. And in passenger, freight and ship transport, natural gas as a fuel in compressed (CNG) or liquefied (LNG) form can help to significantly reduce both CO2 and particulate emissions. Natural gas thus stands for rapid and effective climate protection.
Rethinking energy
In the energy world of tomorrow, our gas will guarantee supply security. But not all gases are equal: as new technological possibilities emerge, gaseous energy sources are becoming increasingly climatefriendly. Thanks to the admixture of green gases – such as renewable natural gas or hydrogen – the carbon footprint will improve even further. Gas will also play a key role in the progressive integration of the power, heat, mobility and industrial sectors as well as in the overall optimisation of the energy system. This means that a well-developed gas infrastructure also benefits renewables. As part of the power-to-gas concept, gas even becomes a solid partner: in this process, excess energy is converted into hydrogen or synthetic gas, which can be stored, transported and used in the long term. This means that as an element of integrated energy, gas is becoming renewable – and an integral part of a climate-neutral future.