EDF may buy stake in Russia's South Stream pipeline

Discussions have started between the France and Russia for electricity utility Electricite de France to take at least a 10% stake in the proposed South Stream pipeline from Russia to Bulgaria in exchange for long-term gas contracts.

Doris Leblond
OGJ Correspondent

PARIS, Sept. 17 -- Discussions have started between the France and Russia for electricity utility Electricite de France to take at least a 10% stake in the proposed South Stream pipeline from Russia to Bulgaria in exchange for long-term gas contracts.

EDF Pres. Pierre Gadonneix told members of the French parliament negotiations are under way, “but we are very far from an agreement.” France owns 84.8% of EDF.

French and Russian officials separately confirmed EDF's participation in the pipeline project was among items discussed by Prime Minister Francois Fillon and Russian Premier Vladimir Putin in meetings earlier this week in Moscow.

The Russian business daily Kommersant reported state-controlled OAO Gazprom, one of the partners in the project, would soon sign a memorandum of understanding with EDF.

EDF has been diversifying into gas both to supply its gas-powered facilities and new clients. By 2015, it aims to acquire 15% of the gas volumes sold to final clients in France, Germany, the UK, and Italy.

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