BERLIN, September 16 (Itar-Tass) —— Germany’s third biggest gas distributing company Verbundnetz Gas and Russia’s gas monopoly Gazprom have launched construction of a large underground gas storage facility near Bernburg in the German Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt.
All in all, the underground facility will consist of twelve gas tanks. Their storage capacity will be at about 600 million cubic metres, which will be sufficient to guarantee stable gas supplies to about 300,000 homes. The project is planned to be over by 2024.
The project was named Yekaterina (Catherine) – in honour of Russia’s Empress Catherine II, also known as the Catherine the Great, nee Princess Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg. She was born in the town of Zerbst, which is located not far from Bernburg, 282 years ago.
“Joint construction and use of the underground storage strengthens many-year cooperation between Gazprom and Verbundnetz Gas,” Chairman of the company’s Executive Board Karsten Heuchert said at the ceremony.
“We accumulate experience in this sphere and create important prerequisites for the sustainable supply of natural gas to our consumers,” he said.
In Heuchert’s view, the Yekaterina project will make it possible to enlarge the European gas infrastructure.
The construction of the underground gas storage facility will allow the companies to create a great number of new jobs in the region, he said.
Established in 1969, Verbundnetz Gas AG (Leipzig) is a supplier of gas to Germany’s eastern federal lands and Berlin. Verbundnetz Gas AG’s core business activities involve natural gas import, supply to consumers as well as underground storage.
At present, the company’s shareholders are as follows: EWE – 47.9 percent, Wintershall Holding AG – 15.79 percent plus one share, VNG Verwaltungs und Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH – 25.79 percent minus one share, EEG – 5.26 percent, and Gazprom – 5.26 percent.
As part of its strategy targeted at expanding underground storage capacities, Gazprom operates at Rehden (Germany) one of the largest UGS facilities with a total capacity exceeding four billion cubic metres.
In addition, Gazprom together with RAG and Wingas are engaged in the construction and operation of Austria’s Haidach UGS facility.
Upon completion of stage two by 2011, Haidach with a working gas volume of 2.4 billion cubic metres will become the second-largest UGS facility in Central Europe.