Published on 16 January 2024
WSP and Witteveen+Bos strategic partner of Gasunie
On 15 January 2024, several specialist consultancy and engineering firms, including collaborating partners WSP and Witteveen+Bos, signed a new 10-year framework agreement with Gasunie. The framework agreements are concluded under the Gasunie programme ‘Working & Engineering in Strategic Partnerships’.
The energy transition is causing a shift from a focus on transporting natural gas to transporting other gases such as hydrogen, CO2, green gas and heat. Continuing to face the capacity shortage structurally requires a different way of procuring essential partners such as consultancy and engineering firms. In addition, the new framework agreements will also be used for maintenance and upgrades of the current natural gas network.
Energy transition, for example, requires new pipelines to be laid, which have long preparation and permit processes. Programmes in which both partners are well versed. With Witteveen+Bos’ experience and expertise in planning studies and Environmental Impact Assessments and WSP’s experience in conditioning studies, the collaboration is a logical step. On the engagement and stakeholder management component, the combination WSP and Witteveen+Bos received the highest score on Partnership, Sustainability, Safety, Efficiency and Flexibility & Reliability.
Continued existence through collaboration
For Gasunie, this framework agreement for all lots and with all consultancy and engineering firms involves an investment of around €280 million over a 10-year period. The long duration of the framework agreements arose from a need for continued existence and predictability of work, says Janneke Hermes, acting CEO at Gasunie. ‘The energy transition requires intensive collaboration. Therefore, we are now opting for long-term strategic contracts with established partners in which the importance of collaboration is central. But also how we shape this collaboration. For instance, we will work in joint Construction Teams and there is a high degree of focus on safety, circularity, biodiversity and the impact of our work on the local environment.’
A collaboration such as this ensures that all parties are at the table right from the start, says Eric van den Broek, Managing Director of WSP. ‘With a sense of trust and an open mindset, willing to share knowledge to get the job done together. We experienced the tendering phase together with Witteveen+Bos and Gasunie as very pleasant and we are therefore going into the next phase with confidence.’
As Eveline Buter, Director of Witteveen+Bos, explains, ‘A great deal of thought has been given to the area of tension between working in a collaboration on the one hand and, on the other, capturing this in formal contractual and legal formulations. We learned that Gasunie was also conducting this quest. The great thing is that that search has actually produced a tangible result, in the form of this balanced framework agreement, in which both the hard and soft aspects are embedded.’
Strategic advice for the future
With this focus on renewables, Gasunie is also undergoing a transition. And that does not happen automatically. In addition to the concrete projects starting soon, all of the partners to the framework agreement will work with Gasunie to shape a strategy on how best to handle this transition. To build a sustainable future together.