Gassled: Regulation Risk in Low-Risk Norway
In April 2010, infrastructure fund Njord Gas Infrastructure AS bought ExxonMobil's 9.428% stake in Norwegian gas pipelines Gassled. Njord was interested in Gassled's steady returns and Norway's regulatory/political consistency and transparency. Once built, pipelines were seen as a relatively safe investment as tariffs to transport natural gas were usually fixed for many years (whether prices rose or fell) and bookings were made years in advance. Others followed Njord's lead in 2011 and 2012 to buy into Gassled - four infrastructure funds owned 44% of Gassled after the acquisitions. It came as a shock when a year after the transactions went through, the Norwegian government decided that returns were too high and decided to cut the tariffs charged by Gassled to transport gas by 90%.