Nord Stream gas pipe could link to Britain: Gazprom
(MOSCOW) - A new Russian natural gas link to Europe that currently runs to Germany could be extended to Britain with the involvement of energy group BP, the chief executive of the state Gazprom giant said on Friday.
The Gazprom-led consortium in charge of the Nord Stream pipeline under the Baltic Sea said in May it plans to lay up to two more pipelines to the European Union, doubling the link's current output.
"BP has shown interest," Alexei Miller told reporters after holding an annual meeting with shareholders, stressing that discussions were only preliminary.
"One can surmise that shareholders will remain the same for the line that goes to continental Europe," he said in reference to the current international consortium in the project.
But for the second of two proposed new pipelines, "the composition of the shareholders could change," Miller said.
The Nord Stream consortium currently comprises Gazprom with a 51-percent stake, Germany's BASF and EON each holding 15.5 percent, and Gasunie of the Netherlands and France's GDF Suez with nine-percent shares.
Nord Stream, at around 1,200 kilometres (750 miles) in length, in November 2011 began supplying Europe with Russian gas without crossing land, aiming to avoid supply cutoffs caused by squabbles with neighbouring Ukraine.
In mid-April the consortium announced that it had laid a second pipeline parallel to the first, doubling its transport capacity to 55 billion cubic metres per year.
Russia is currently responsible for more than a quarter of all EU gas imports.
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