OAO Gazprom, the world’s biggest natural-gas producer, is seeking payment from EON SE and BASF SE after boosting reserves at a joint project in Siberia, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.
Gazprom is claiming “more than 1 billion euros” ($1.35 billion) from EON, Germany’s biggest utility, and Wintershall, an oil and gas unit of BASF, one of the people said. The partners are in talks to try to sort out a “dispute and misunderstanding” about the Yuzhno-Russkoye field’s reserves, the other person said.
The German companies were supposed to pay by Oct. 1 for an increase in reserves, while the Russian gas producer would have had to compensate for any decrease, under the terms of asset swaps the partners agreed on as part of their venture, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential.
“A reserves review for the Yuzhno-Russkoye field is part of the contract with Gazprom,” Adrian Schaffranietz, a spokesman for EON, said by e-mail late on Oct. 9. “EON is following the terms of the contract and is currently engaged with Gazprom addressing the reserves review.” Anna Bungarten, a spokeswoman at Wintershall, declined to comment on possible compensation as it’s confidential. Sergei Kupriyanov, a spokesman at Gazprom, declined to comment.
Gazprom, the holder of the world’s biggest gas reserves, agreed to develop Yuzhno-Russkoye with the German partners after a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2006. The Moscow-based gas producer completed an asset swap with Wintershall in 2007 and with EON in 2009, which gave the companies 25 percent stakes in the Gazprom unit that holds the license to the Russian field.
The field, located in the Arctic Yamal region, feeds Nord Stream, a pipeline directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea.
Yuzhno-Russkoye reserves were raised by DeGolyer & MacNaughton to 790.95 billion cubic meters as of the end of 2012 from 610 billion cubic meters in 2005, before the asset swap agreement, one of the people said. The other person confirmed an independent appraisal of the field has been conducted, without providing details. DeGolyer & MacNaughton’s Moscow office declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg.
The field reached full production capacity in 2009, pumping 25 billion cubic meters of gas from the Cenomanian layers annually, enough to meet demand in Germany for four months, according to BP Plc’s Statistical Review of World Energy.
The Severneftegazprom venture, which is developing Yuzhno-Russkoye, started output from the field’s hard-to-recover Turonian reservoirs in 2011. The reserves may add 5 billion cubic meters to 8 billion cubic meters of gas output at the field annually, according to its website.
A review of the field’s Turonian formation hasn’t been completed yet, Wintershall’s Bungarten said.