25 Oct 2010 13:59

South Stream will certainly have German partner

MOSCOW. Oct 25 (Interfax) - A German company will become involved in the building of the South Stream gas pipeline, head of the OJSC Gazprom foreign economic activities department Stanislav Tsygankov told the press.

"I have no doubt at all that a company will appear," Tsygankov said, responding to a question as to the possibility of a German partner contributing to the project, but without naming any particular company.

A source told Interfax recently that the company Wintershall - the German concern BASF's oil and gas subsidiary - was talking with Gazprom about taking part in building the Black Sea floor portion of the South Stream pipeline.

"We are of the opinion that this will be an European project without dominating participants expect for Gazprom. I think that this is one of the better options for Eni. It doesn't seem they are ready to be the leader," Tsygankov said.

During meetings with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller at the start of October, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that German companies are interested in participating in the South Stream project.

"I know that several major European companies, which did not join the project earlier, are already showing great interest in it. And if they join the project, it will become in the direct sense of the word international, all-European. We already have Italian firms, French, and now the Germans are showing interest," Putin said.

Miller said: "We see interest in this project from new participants and our traditional partners, including German companies."

So far Gazprom has one partner in the construction of the South Stream pipeline, Italy's Eni. Negotiations are now underway about the involvement of French company EDF.

Tsygankov did not specify the results of the drilling of an initial exploration well in Algeria since tests have yet to be conducted after the drilling. Commenting on the construction of the South Stream pipeline, Tsygankov said: "economically and technologically speaking, this project is absolutely feasible." He noted that the project had a political component that needs to be solved. When asked about the pipeline's possible capacity, Tsygankov said that it would likely come to around 30 billion cubic meters after factoring the length of such gas pipelines.