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EU Green Deal author gets job for gas network

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One of the architects of the European Green Deal has taken a job advising Dutch gas network operator Gasunie.

Diederik Samsom will join the company’s supervisory board on July 1, and is expected to take over as its chair, after holding a top post running climate policy in the European Commission since 2019.

He served as chief of staff to former EU climate boss Frans Timmermans and played a key role in designing the sweeping package of laws that set the course for the EU to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Asked by POLITICO if he was concerned about the appearance of leaving a key green policymaking post to advise a company currently dealing primarily in fossil fuels, Samsom said: “Gasunie does not trade or own one molecule of gas. But they are instrumental in providing the infrastructure to accelerate the transition to a renewable energy system.”

Gasunie, which manages the Netherlands’ gas transport pipelines, has recently moved towards investments in hydrogen. This month, the state-owned firm was charged with connecting the country’s future hydrogen network with Belgium and Germany.

The company also set up a new floating liquefied natural gas terminal in 2022 to help replace the Netherlands’ gas supplies that were cut by Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. 

In a statement on Gasunie’s website, Samsom said the current network could be adapted “in a smart way for hydrogen, green gas, heat and CO2.”

Tim van der Hagen, the vice-chair of the board, said Samsom, a former Greenpeace activist and previous leader of the Dutch Labour Party, was “ideally equipped to make a significant contribution to Gasunie realising its strategic ambitions, especially now that the company plays a key role in the energy transition.”

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