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Monday, September 15, 2008

Wintershall sees rapid Siberia gas progress

COLOGNE, Germany, Sept 11 (Reuters) - German oil and gas group Wintershall and Russia's Gazprom will be able to reach maximum production at the Siberian Yuzhno Russkoye gas field in 2009, two years ahead of schedule, a Wintershall executive told Reuters in an interview on Thursday. 'Production is going well, it can be expanded more quickly than initially planned,' Wintershall board member Rainer Seele said on the sidelines of an energy conference. 'We will reach the maximum of 25 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2009 and thus two years earlier than originally expected.' Gazprom owns the majority of the field, while BASF (nyse: BF - news - people ) has a 25 percent stake minus one share, which will be jointly developed to feed the Nord Stream gas pipeline that will take Russian gas to Europe from late 2011. Seele, who is chairman of the BASF Wingas unit in Germany, a 50/50 trading joint venture with Gazprom, also reiterated its 2008 Wingas sales target for 30 bcm, up from 25.4 bcm in 2007. He cited pricing policies and success in wooing German local utilities. 'That will be an all-time record result,' he said. Asked if oil's sharp price drop meant Continental gas prices could fall soon, he said the link between oil and gas gas prices moves with a six-month time lag. 'Gas consumers have not even seen the (record) $147 oil price in their bills,' he said. Current oil price falls to around $100 would be noticeable in gas bills in the spring of 2009 at the earliest, he added.

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