Wintershall announcement underpins EU gas stability

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This week’s announcement that Wintershall take a 15% stake in the South Stream gas pipeline project provides a major boost for the pipeline project.

The preliminary agreement by the BASF subsidiary is estimated to be worth about 2 billion euro, and complements its 15% stake in the Nord Stream pipeline being constructed across the Baltic.With the Nord Stream and South Stream systems being constructed to supplement the existing land based gas pipeline system which crosses Ukraine and Belarus, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin hailed the Wintershall announcement as underpinning the stability of Europe’s gas supplies well into the future.

"This is a serious event and a very important one taking into account the processes that are happening today on the international energy markets. This is a signal for stability."

The theme of stability was picked up by Gazprom CEO, Alexei Miller, who said the supply contracts which he expected to be signed this year, would underpin Russia’s position in Europe’s energy market.

"Its implementation says that Russia will remain a reliable supplier of gas to Europe for many years to come."

South Stream, with a 900 kilometre undersea section in the Black Sea, is planned to become operational in 2013. It is seen as a competitor for the EU backed Nabucco pipeline.