180 years in the energy sector
In 1843, our innovative spirit led us to start our activity in Barcelona and bring public lighting to the city streets for the first time. This same spirit continues to drive the company towards a future full of challenges and new opportunities.
In 2023 we celebrate our 180th anniversary with a history and experience that attest to our solidity and ensure a future that points to comfort and a smarter use of energy. So we invite you to take a brief look at our history to discover where we have come from and where we are going.
Since starting our business, our goal has always been to serve society and offer smart and innovative solutions by opting for avant-garde solutions. In all our years of experience, we have diversified our business and became the first group to integrate gas and electricity in Spain.
The last few years of our history have been marked by decisive changes in this strategy: we have expanded our business to reach into 20 countries, we have led the way in integrating the gas and electricity business as well as the commitment to clean energies and new power generation technologies.
In 2018, coinciding with our 175th anniversary, we also made one of the most significant changes in our history: switching from Gas Natural Fenosa to Naturgy. Our new brand is international, adapted to suit all the global markets where we operate now and will operate in the future, with a focus on innovation, digitalisation, simplicity and globality. With this brand, we are giving ourselves new momentum to be closer to our customers wherever they are and focus on offering simple, easy and environmentally-friendly solutions.
From 1843 to the present
Since 1843 we have been part of Spanish and global energy history, offering a service to our clients and working to ensure their comfort at home. Until the 1990s we grew, innovated in domestic use and integrated the electricity and gas sector in Spain. And since the end of the last century we have grown outside Spain, turning us into one of the biggest energy players on an international scale.
Since its founding, the company has offered innovative solutions. In 1843, and under the name of Sociedad Catalana para el Alumbrado por Gas (SCAG), it was one of the first companies to bring light to streets and public spaces in Barcelona, thus offering the first public service implemented in the city.
Gas lighting had already been installed in the main European capital cities (the first being London in 1812), and was a revolution in citizens’ quality of life since it enabled them to maintain an active life after sunset. A few months later, SCAG also began to promote the new lighting among private customers.
Beginning in 1866, SCAG took a leap beyond Catalonia and began its geographical expansion throughout the Iberian Peninsula with the purchase of gas factories in Sant Andreu del Palomar, Seville and Ferrol. At the end of the century, SCAG also entered into the thermal electricity business and, in 1911, hydroelectric power with the construction of water towers and power stations in the Pyrenees.
In the second decade of the 20th century, the proliferation of competing companies in the gas and electricity business, such as Barcelona Traction Light & Power, obliged SCAG to change its strategy, which was an important step forward in its growth based on the acquisition of different companies. It was then, in 1912, that SCAG changed its name to Catalana de Gas y Electricidad, S.A. (CGE).
One of the greatest milestones in the company’s history was in 1963, when CGE introduced petrol (light naphtha) to the energy market, using it as a raw material to replace coal. Its use as a raw material and the company’s unstoppable expansion considerably increased the capacity of its factories, which enabled it to begin promoting the use of gas heating strongly from 1967.
Together with other members, CGE incorporated Gas Natural, S.A., dedicated to importing natural gas from Libya and Algeria, in 1965. As well as that, the company drove the construction of a regasification plant in the port of Barcelona, a sales network in the area and brought the first LNG tanker to Spain. All this made it possible a short time later to begin industrial uses of natural gas as a quality fuel on a large scale.
After the merger of Catalana de Gas over Gas Madrid in 1991, the company decided to adapt its name to the new reality and changed the name to the more generic Gas Natural, the fourth name change in about 150 years, and that is when it was incorporated the butterfly, once a risky element but which over the years has shown its personality and power in communication.
In 1992 was created the Naturgy Foundation, a non-profit institution to educate and raise awareness in society of improvements in energy efficiency and technological innovation in the energy sector. It also develops social action programmes both nationally and internationally, in particular by supporting initiatives aimed at alleviating energy vulnerability.
1992 was the year we opened up to other countries by acquiring a stake in the state gas company in Argentina. The experience was a major challenge for Gas Natural SDG which, having barely finished integrating gas in Spain, had begun to take its activities abroad with the acquisition in this country where there were almost one million new customers. In 1997, the company began operating in Brazil, Mexico and Colombia.
During this period and as a result of internationalising its activities and the gas liberalisation process in Spain, Gas Natural SDG gradually entered new sectors of activity and embarked on new developments, completing its profile as an international benchmark company and improving its mix of risks between countries and businesses to include transport, fleet, trading and upstream.
In 2002, Gas Natural SDG became a pioneer with the construction of the country’s first combined cycle, in San Roque (Cádiz).
The formal merger of Unión Fenosa was completed on 1 September 2009, leading to a new company of huge dimensions with the joining of the natural gas leader in Spain and the fourth liquefied natural gas (LNG) operator in the world, and Spain’s third electricity company, which also had a rapidly growing gas business with quality assets.
The operation led to a major change in positioning and relevance: from operating in 9 countries to 22, from 1.5 million customers to 20 million, and from 4 GW of installed capacity to 17 GW.
At international level, a new company was created in 2014, Global Power Generation (GPG), which combined all existing international conventional and renewable power generation assets. This company can cover the entire generation industry value chain from project development, engineering and construction to existing asset management and operation, practically anywhere worldwide.
In the context of the effects of the economic crisis and its consequences, in January 2017 Gas Natural Fenosa decided to launch a new Energy Vulnerability Plan for Spain as a whole, with a budget of 4.5 million euros per year. The goal was to intensify actions already being implemented, and to move forward in the standardisation of managing vulnerable customers, strengthening collaboration with public administrations and related tertiary sector entities.
To address the new phase, in 2018 the company designed a new brand, Naturgy, changing the corporate name from Gas Natural SDG to Naturgy Energy Group. The new brand omitted the word ‘gas’ to link itself to a wider concept of energy, adding an international vision for all the countries where the company operates.
The Naturgy brand takes on the company’s historical legacy and preserves part of the previous name, the logo including an icon reminiscent of the butterfly created in 1992 but with a simpler design, in line with the change in font.
Today the company aims to transform the current business model and lay the foundations to continue creating value through energy transition by focusing on renewable energy sources, developing renewable gas (hydrogen and biomethane) thanks to our leading position in the conventional natural gas market, and boosting energy efficiency and the circular economy.