Wintershall and Gazprom to Expand Nordstream
Wintershall, the oil and gas subsidiary BASF, and Russian gas conglomerate Gazprom have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to expand capacity of the Nord Stream pipeline, which delivers Russian natural gas to Europe through customers via the Baltic Sea.
German oil and gas group E.ON, Austria’s OMV and Dutch-British group Shell also plan to participate in the expansion, which is planned to consist of two additional pipelines capable of transporting up to 55 billion additional cbm of Russian natural gas directly to Germany.
The first two lines of Nord Stream, in which Wintershall has a 15.5% stake, have been operational since October 2012. The Russian gas arrives at Lubmin on the German Baltic Sea coast and from there is transported via the two connecting pipelines OPAL and NEL to customers in western and central Europe.
Wintershall said the existing pipelines already make a vital contribution to strengthening supply security and meeting long-term demand for natural gas import in Germany and Europe, while adding that the EU's import requirements are expected to rise further, as the gap between production and consumption of natural gas continues to grow.
The International Energy Agency forecasts that European gas production will fall by about 2% annually, while consumption will rise by 0.6%.
Expansion of the gas transportation infrastructure, which provides a direct link from the Russian gas deposits to the European markets, will help to further improve the security of the gas supply for the European continent, said Alexander Medvedev, deputy chairman of the management committee of PJSC Gazprom.
BASF and Gazprom have been cooperating for more than 20 years on building pipelines to bring Russian gas to Europe, BASF managing board member Hans-Ulrich Engel said, adding that, “we want to bring our expertise in this field to the expansion of Nord Stream and look forward to working with Gazprom and further European partners”