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Wintershall sees neither technical nor legal obstacles for Nord Stream-2 — CEO

June 17, 13:10 UTC+3 ST.PETERSBURG
The company hopes to acquire a stake in the Nord Stream-2 project by August 2016
1 pages in this article
© EPA/MARTIN SCHUTT

ST.PETERSBURG, June 17. /TASS/. German gas company Wintershall sees neither technical nor legal obstacles for the implementation of the Nord-Stream-2 pipeline project, Mario Mehren, Wintershall CEO, said in an interview with TASS at the St.Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

"Legally, technically, there is no grounds (to not allow Nord Stream 2), this is the opinion not only of myself, but apparently of the legal service of the European Commission who investigated the case, and also all of the law firms we are working with came to that conclusion," Mehren said.

He added that there won’t be any contradiction with the so-called Third Energy Package of the EU, which requires the division of assets of the suppliers and gas transportation companies.

"The offshore part is not subject to the Third Energy Package, and the onshore part will be subject to the Third Energy Package," he said.

Wintershall intends to buy stake by August

The company hopes that it will receive all permits required for buying a stake in the Nord Stream-2 project company by August 2016, Mario Mehren, Wintershall CEO, said in an interview with TASS at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

"We are waiting for the approval of becoming a shareholder in Nord Stream-2, from Poland. We hope that this process will be finalized by the end of July - beginning of August. Polish authorities asked us a number of questions a number of times and this is unfortunately slowing down the process. But I am optimistic that by August we should know where we are going," the top manager said.

In February, the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) extended the deadline for consideration of creating a joint venture for the gas pipeline Nord Stream-2. According to the statement, the management has recognized the need to continue considering the issue and that it is still necessary to examine the impact of the deal on the Polish market of gas supply.

The UOKiK received a request for the assessment of the joint venture Nord Stream AG 2 in December last year. It was reported, that it Russian Gazprom and companies from Germany, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland were going to participate in it.

Earlier the Polish government has repeatedly criticized plans to build the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline, calling the project "a geopolitical project of Russia". 

The Nord Stream-2 project includes the construction of two lines of the offshore gas pipeline with a total capacity of 55 bln cubic meters of gas a year from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, in addition to the existing two lines. 

Demand for Russian gas in Europe

 Europe needs Russian gas and the demand for it from European consumers will be growing, Mario Mehren, Wintershall CEO, said in an interview with TASS at the St.Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

"Absolutely," he said when asked whether he expects the growing demand for Russian gas in Europe.

"Europe needs Russian gas. We all know that domestic production in Europe is going down. (There is a) natural decline on our fields in the Netherlands and the UK. Norway will not be able to increase production. I think Norway will have to do a very good job to maintain production level of gas. So in Europe we have two options - either we import pipeline gas from Russia or we import," he said.

According to him, due to economic and environmental reasons gas from Russia is more beneficial to Europe.

"That is the reason why we are investing in Russian gas fields and why we are investing in the pipeline (Nord Stream 2 - TASS)," he said.

Wintershall Holding GmbH is a subsidiary of BASF and one of the main partner of Russian gas giant Gazprom in Europe.

Current sanctions regime

Sanctions are harmful for both Russia and the EU and it is necessary to find a smarter way of dealing with them, Mario Mehren, Wintershall CEO, said in an interview with TASS at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

"I’m hoping that we leave this lose-lose game, that at least we come to a smarter way of dealing with sanctions, for example, in a step-by-step approach," Mehren said.

When commenting on the statement Chairman of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker made at the opening of SPEIF, Mehren said: "I was, I have to say, a little bit disappointed by the statement made by Mr. Juncker here at the Forum that he only sees the black-white way out of the sanctions spiral. So I would really hope that we come to a more intelligent way of dealing with this issue like for example Germany’s foreign minister Mr. Steinmeier suggested."

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