A new hearing is to be held at the Federal ministry for economics in Berlin concerning the ministerial permit for E.On AG to take over Ruhrgas AG. The first one was judged invalid by the courts as the state secretary (deputy to the minister) Alfred Tacke had not been present. E.On chairman Ulrich Hartmann welcomed the new hearing and indicated his belief that the restriction of competition assumed by the German cartell office would be outweighed by public good considerations as Germany depends heavily on natural gas deliveries from Norway and Russia which implies significant risks as to price as well as security of supply, a situation that will worsen in the future. E.On’s intention to invest 6 to 8bn Euros in gas projects for Ruhrgas would help stabilise the German gas supply.

Several companies engaged in the natural gas business have indicated that they would continue to oppose the deal.