RUSSIA’S top gas producer, Gazprom, will start producing in the North Sea after an asset-swap with German company Wintershall.
The firm will gain 50% stakes in UK and Dutch gas fields operated by Wintershall, the oil and gas unit of BASF.
In return, the German business will increase its interest in two exploration blocks in Siberia, where the two companies are already working together.
Gazprom chairman Alexei Miller said the partnership would allow the pair to tackle technically complex and ambitious projects.
Gazprom, which is 50% state-owned, holds 18% of the world’s gas reserves and is responsible for 15% of global natural gas production.
Wintershall already operates in the North Sea, having acquired exploration rights for over 30 blocks and part blocks in the UK, Germany, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands since 2006.
It has over 80 overall in the North Sea, with more than 30 exploration blocks in the British sector after becoming a UK operator for the first time in 2005.