Natural Gas Trading
- Complete transfer of previously jointly operated natural gas trading and storage business to Gazprom
- Further expansion of European natural gas infrastructure
- Participation in offshore section of South Stream pipeline, from Russia through Black Sea to southeastern Europe
The activities in this business sector conducted together with Gazprom predominantly belong to the W & G Beteiligungs-GmbH & Co. KG (W & G, formerly WINGAS GmbH & Co. KG) Group. We changed our Group structure in 2012 in order to comply with the tightened unbundling requirements set forth by the amended German Energy Act (EnWG). W & G primarily assumes holding and financing responsibilities and holds the shares in the Baltic Sea Pipeline Link (OPAL) and the North European Gas Pipeline (NEL). The natural gas trading, gas transport and gas storage sectors function as subsidiaries under the umbrella of the holding.
Important developments in 2012
- Second Nord Stream pipeline and sections of the North European Gas Pipeline begin operations
- Construction continues at the Jemgum natural gas storage facility
- Transfer of gas trading to WINGAS GmbH and gas storage to astora GmbH & Co. KG in accordance with legal regulations
Natural gas trading: Natural gas trading has been carved out to the newly established WINGAS GmbH. WINGAS markets natural gas from various sources to Germany and other European countries. Its main customers are municipal utilities and regional gas suppliers as well as larger industrial firms and power plants. Furthermore, WINGAS is also active on spot trading markets.
As part of the agreed-upon asset swap, we will completely transfer our shares in WINGAS and in the natural gas trading firms in Berlin and in Zug, Switzerland, to Gazprom in 2013.
Gas transport: Our Germany-wide gas pipeline network, with a length of approximately 2,300 kilometers, is operated by GASCADE Gastransport GmbH (formerly WINGAS TRANSPORT GmbH). OPAL Gastransport GmbH operates the OPAL natural gas pipeline.
NEL, operated by NEL Gastransport GmbH, began operations at the end of 2012 with a transport capacity of around 20%. The necessary rerouting of a 40-kilometer stretch of pipeline south of Hamburg resulting from a lawsuit is expected to be completed by the end of 2013. NEL will then attain its full transport capacity of around 20 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year.
In addition, the second Nord Stream pipeline began operations. Nord Stream AG, operator of the offshore pipeline, is consolidated in the BASF Group Consolidated Financial Statements according to the equity method. The shareholders in Nord Stream are: Gazprom (51%), Wintershall (15.5%) and E.ON (15.5%), as well as N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie and GDF Suez (9% each). With a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year, the Nord Stream pipeline helps strengthen supply security in Europe.
South Stream Transport B.V. will develop, construct and operate the offshore section of the South Stream pipeline through the Black Sea. Apart from Gazprom (50%) and Wintershall (15%), other shareholders in this company are Eni (20%) and EdF (15%). The gradual expansion to a total annual capacity of 63 billion cubic meters of natural gas is expected to begin at the end of 2015.
Gas storage: Gas storage activities were transferred from WINGAS to astora GmbH & Co. KG in 2012. Important components of the storage portfolio include the natural gas storage facility in Rehden, Germany – the largest in Western Europe – and a share in the natural gas storage facility in Haidach, Austria. Work is progressing on the Jemgum natural gas storage facility in northern Germany, which is expected to begin partial operations in 2013. As part of the agreed-upon asset swap, we will transfer our gas storage activities to Gazprom in 2013.