In 1983 Distrigas in Belgium, Gaz de France in France, Ruhrgas in Germany and Gasunie in the Netherlands signed a document on a standard way of sending and receiving operational data and messages between the dispatching centres. This document was called the GASNET-Protocol. Today, beside the four “owners” of the protocol, another 10 companies, national and international, are using this protocol for their data exchange.
At the end of 1995 one of the users, Statoil Norway, who experienced first problems raised by a lot of messages to handle, initiated to look for a more international standard for communication.

In May 1996 a Workgroup was formed, in which Statoil and each of the owners was represented by one member. The first goal of this Workgroup was to make an inventory of all the messages used, to gather them and to choose an international EDI standard.

The result of this inventory and bundling are the so called message-groups. Each message-group being a collection of a number of messages of the same type, e.g. all the request messages. For each message-group a matrix was developed containing all the fields of the messages in that group.

This matrix then made it possible to define all the messages within a message-group.

At the end of 1996 EDIFACT was chosen as the international standard to be used in the future.
The Workgroup, in the meantime also joined by SNAM in Italy, selected EDS as an EDI consultant to provide support in its task to migrate the telex-based messages into EDI messages.

Currently the messages have been defined and the Workgroup members have started to use them for their daily operational requirements. testing and implementation phase.
Other companies have also expressed their intention to implement the standard for their business requirements.