Gazprom begins setting up a new consortium to enlarge the Nord Stream gas pipeline. The Kommersant daily has learnt that during a visit to the Netherlands of Russian President Vladimir Putin next week, Russia’s Gazprom gas giant and Dutch Gasunie will sign a memorandum on Gasunie’s participation in the construction of the third branch of the pipeline. Gasunie is shareholder of two first branches of Nord Stream, but Gazprom wants to expand the project from scratch.
A newspaper source close to Gazprom said the company will sign with Gasunie a memorandum of intentions on Gasunie’s participation in the consortium that will be extending the Nord Stream pipeline from Russia to Germany across the Baltic Sea floor.
In mid-January, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said a new consortium will be building the third and fourth branches of Nord Stream, and different sections of the route may have different shareholders.
Because of a deficit in liquefied natural gas and a March cold spell in Europe, and first of all in Great Britain, spot prices of gas skyrocketed, which creates a favorable atmosphere for talks on Nord Stream enlargement, Valery Nesterov from Sberbank Investment Research believes.
Gazprom wants to increase supplies to Great Britain from the current eight billion cubic meters (these are mainly spot contracts) to 40 billion cubic meters (50 percent of the British market), Vitaly Kryukov from IFD-Kapital Group adds.
Besides, other gas transmission assets may be of interest for Gazprom in Europe. Gasunie (belongs to the state) owns a network of gas pipelines that are 15,500 kilometers long and have a capacity of up to 100 billion cubic meters a year. It also has two LNG terminals and an underground gas storage facility.