Gasunie joins Nord Stream and BBL consortiums

Gazprom has formally accepted Nederlandse Gasunie into the consortium that plans to build the 27.5 billion cu m/year Nord Stream pipeline to deliver Russian gas to Europe starting in 2010.

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, Nov. 7 -- JSC Gazprom has formally accepted NV Nederlandse Gasunie into the consortium that plans to build the 27.5 billion cu m/year Nord Stream pipeline to deliver Russian gas to Europe starting in 2010.

Gasunie also will join the partners that developed the Dutch Balgzand Bacton Line (BBL), which started operations last year and sends gas from the Netherlands to the UK. The deal builds on a memorandum of understanding signed last October in which Gasunie expressed an interest in cooperating on Nord Stream and BBL.

Under an umbrella agreement signed Nov. 6 by both companies, Gasunie will acquire a 9% share in Nord Stream AG, with consortium members Wintershall AG and E.On Ruhrgas AG reducing their interests by 4.5% each. Gazprom also will have an option to acquire a 9% interest in BBL Co. When the deal is executed, shareholdings in Nord Stream will be Gazprom with 51% share, Wintershall and E.On Ruhrgas with 20% each, and Gasunie 9%.

According to the agreement, Gazprom also will gain access to transport capacity within Gasunie's network, which has an annual throughput of about 100 billion cu m. The Netherlands' position as a gas hub for northwest Europe is of particular interest to Gazprom.

The revised shareholdings in BBL Co., if Gazprom utilizes its option, will be Gasunie will keep 51%, E.On Ruhrgas and Fluxys 20% each, and Gazprom 9%.

Gazprom Chairman of the Management Committee Alexei Miller and Gasunie Chief Executive Marcel Kramer said the new partnership would enable delivery of secure gas supplies to Europe, particularly as domestic production is falling and gas demand increasing.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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