The Gazprom headquarters hosted yesterday a working meeting between Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Company’s Management Committee and Dr. Klaus-Ewald Holst, Chairman of the Executive Board of Verbundnetz Gas AG.
The parties addressed the issues related to operating activity of Verbundnetz Gas with Gazprom being a shareholder of the company. Particular attention was paid to closing the deal related to Gazprom’s acquisition of a 5.26 per cent stake in Verbundnetz Gas. At the same time, the 2009 operating highlights of VNG received high appraisal, as the German gas importer achieved record high profit and sales indicators.
The meeting participants looked at the ways of the bilateral cooperation deepening within natural gas supply and underground storage projects.
Klaus-Ewald Holst stated that Gazprom was the major supplier for Verbundnetz Gas and there were good prospects for increasing Russian gas sales due to emerging opportunities. Among these opportunities are wider gas utilization as a heating fuel and as a motor fuel, as well as innovations and novel industrial technologies.
Alexey Miller and Klaus-Ewald Holst addressed the current status of and the short-term outlook for the European gas market. The parties shared the opinion that the demand for the most environmentally friendly energy carrier would rapidly grow on the continent, thus enabling Gazprom to surpass the pre-crisis year of 2008 in terms of gas sales to Europe as soon as in 2012–2013.
Taking into account the forthcoming expiry of Klaus-Ewald Holst’s term of office as the Executive Board Chairman, Alexey Miller noted that “Verbundnetz Gas attained considerable success under your chairmanship, reinforced its position in Germany and entered new untapped markets. At the same time, the business partnership and friendship ties grew stronger between our companies. Thank you for the years of fruitful cooperation, during which we achieved much and laid a cornerstone for the future joint victories”.
Established in 1969, Verbundnetz Gas AG (VNG AG, Leipzig) is a supplier of gas to Germany and a number of other countries. VNG business activities involve natural gas import, supply to consumers as well as production and underground storage.
At present, the company’s shareholders are as follows: EWE – 47.9 per cent, Wintershall Holding AG – 15.79 per cent plus one share, VNG Verwaltungs und Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH – 25.79 per cent minus one share, Gazprom – 10.52 per cent.
In April 2008 Gazprom and VNG inked the Agreement of Cooperation in the underground gas storage sector, which provides for establishing a joint venture that would operate a new UGS facility near Bernburg (Saxonia-Anhalt, Germany). Later on, this facility was named Katharina. In May 2009 Gazprom and VNG signed the Agreement on setting up a consortium to construct the Katharina UGS facility with the working gas volume of more than 597 million cubic meters of gas.