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Friday, April 28, 2006

Gazprom and BASF agree to swap assets

04-28-2006 RBC News - Russia's gas giant Gazprom and the German chemicals company BASF have signed an asset swap agreement. It was signed following Russian-German consultations in Tomsk today. The ceremony was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Gazprom will increase its stake in the joint venture Wingas GmbH from 35 percent to 50 percent minus one share. The Russian gas monopoly will also get a stake in Wintershall AG, a subsidiary of BASF. BASF/Wintershall will get 25 percent minus one voting share and 10 percent of non-voting shares in Severneftegazprom, which holds a license for geological exploration and development of the Yuzhno-Russkoye field. In total, BASF will have 35 percent minus one share in the Yuzhno-Russkoye field. Gazprom and BASF will also create the joint venture Wingas Europe for selling natural gas in Europe. The agreements were a sign of growing confidence between Russia and Germany, and they would strengthen ties between Gazprom and BASF, stressed Jurgen Hambrecht, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF. Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller described the asset swap as mutually beneficial and meeting the two companies' strategic interests. All the necessary documents had already been prepared, and they would be signed before the end of this year, Miller said. In September 2005 Gazprom, BASF and E.ON signed an agreement in principle on the construction of the North European Gas Pipeline. The first section of the pipeline with a capacity of 27.5 billion cubic meters a year, will be put into service in 2010. The second section will be completed by 2013, bringing the capacity of the pipeline to 55 billion cubic meters. The North European Gas Pipeline Company (NEGPC) will oversee the construction. It was set up by Gazprom, which has a 51 percent stake in it, and German's E.ON and BASF, with 24.5 percent each. The Yuzhno-Russkoye field, located in the Yamalo-Nenetsk Autonomous District, plays an important role in the NEGP project.

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