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GDF SUEZ Acquires 9 Percent Stake in Nord Stream AG

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 6/20/2010, Location: Asia

Nord Stream AG is pleased to welcome GDF SUEZ S.A. as the consortium’s fifth shareholder with a 9 percent holding following its acquisition of 4.5 percent each from founder members E.ON Ruhrgas AG and Wintershall Holding GmbH. The two German energy companies now each have a 15.5 percent holding. The consortium’s other shareholders are Russia’s OAO Gazprom with 51 percent and the Dutch gas infrastructure company N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie with 9 percent.

First agreements on these changes to Nord Steam’s shareholding structure were signed yesterday at the annual International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg. The final closing of the deal will take place in the coming weeks. “Nord Stream is a vibrant example of the value of co-operation between Russian and European Union (EU) companies along the energy value chain, underlining the interdependency between Russia and Europe in energy security: Russia has the world’s largest reserves of natural gas, and Europe is Russia’s largest market. Nord Stream’s European shareholders also partner with Gazprom in gas exploration, production or transmission,” says Nord Stream Managing Director Matthias Warnig.

“It is a further sign of confidence in the financial, commercial, operational and contractual strength of the Nord Stream project that another of Europe’s strongest energy groups has joined the consortium,” Matthias Warnig added. “The participation of GDF SUEZ represents a further strengthening of the European dimension of this key Russian-European joint venture to meet Europe’s growing demand for imported natural gas.”

Now that France’s GDF SUEZ has also become a shareholder in Nord Stream, the consortium includes shareholders from countries representing about 40 percent of the EU’s total annual consumption of natural gas: Germany, Netherlands and France.

Nord Stream’s shareholders are providing 30 percent of the 7.4 billion euros of the project’s finance, with the remaining 70 percent to be provided by international banks and export credit agencies. The privately financed project consortium has already started construction of its 1,224 kilometre natural gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea and is scheduled to start transporting Russian gas to Europe in 2011.

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