Wintershall has agreed with the Russian natural gas producer OAO Gazprom to take a 15 percent stake in the project company in charge of developing the offshore part of South Stream. The 940 kilometer pipelines are to run through the Black Sea and connect EU member states in South-East Europe directly with Russia. The agreements were signed by Alexei Miller, Chief Executive Officer of OAO Gazprom, Dr. Harald Schwager from BASF’s Board of Executive Directors, and Dr. Rainer Seele, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Wintershall, in March 2012 at the Investment Forum in Sochi in the presence of Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The company South Stream Transport B.V. will develop, build and operate the offshore project section of the pipeline through the Black Sea. Apart from Gazprom (50%) and Wintershall (15%), Italy’s ENI (20%) and France’s EdF (15%) have a stake in this company.
“Together with Gazprom and other European partners, we are already demonstrating with the Nord Stream Baltic Sea Pipeline how we can increase gas supply security in Europe. We are now working together to improve supply security in the South-East EU member states, in which Gazprom and Wintershall have been successfully involved in gas trading for many years,” explained Dr. Harald Schwager in Sochi. “In the global race against Asian countries for raw materials, South Stream – like Nord Stream – will ensure access to energy resources which are vital to our economy. With its production in Siberia and a stake in the transport infrastructure, Wintershall is contributing directly to a secure European energy supply,” emphasized Dr. Rainer Seele at the contract signing.
The objective of the South Stream project is to create an additional means of transporting Russian natural gas to supply about 30 million households in South-East and Southern Europe from 2015 at the earliest. It consists of three components overall: the expansion of transport capacities in Russia to the Black Sea coast near Anapa, the construction of four parallel gas pipelines through the Black Sea with a planned total capacity of 63 billion cubic meters a year, and the continued construction of the onshore pipeline from Varna in Bulgaria through South-East and Southern Europe. The project partners took the final investment decision in the middle of November 2012.