Russian natural gas giant Gazprom will acquire Western Europe's largest underground gas storage facility this fall, media reports said this week.
Germany's Deutsche Welle reported on Wednesday that Gazprom and the Wintershall Holding subsidiary of German chemical company BASF are finalizing the details of an asset swap that was first agreed in December 2013 and has been approved by the European Commission.
Under the terms of the deal, the Russian company will take over a gas storage facility located in the German town of Rehden in Lower Saxony, northern Germany. In return, BASF will get a 25.01 percent share in a project to extract oil, gas and condensate from the Urengoyskoye field in West Siberia.
The storage facility in Rehden has a working gas volume of more than 4 billion cubic meters and takes up eight square kilometers of space underground, with some gas stored at depths of 2,000 meters. It represents about one fifth of all the gas storage capacity in Germany.
Russian news provider RT commented that this deal will help Gazprom secure its presence in the gas market in Northern and Western Europe. The company's twin pipeline, Nord Stream, which runs under the Baltic Sea to Germany, was opened in two stages in 2011 and 2012.
Gazprom said that the asset swap would enable the two companies to "substantially strengthen their positions along the entire value chain from upstream to downstream."