Gazprom Said to Seek Saipem Settlement With Nord Stream 2 Deal

  • Saipem demands 760 million euros over cancelled Black Sea deal
  • Deal may be signed in June at St. Petersburg business summit

Russia is planning to offer Saipem SpA a contract to lay a natural gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea in an effort to settle a 760-million euro ($870 million) dispute and strengthen ties with Italy, according to two government officials in Moscow.

State-run Gazprom PJSC may sign a deal with Saipem on a planned 10-billion euro offshore link known as Nord Stream 2 at an economic forum in St. Petersburg on June 16-18. An agreement on a settlement may be reached before then, they said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

Gazprom and Saipem declined to comment.

The Russian government invited Italy to send a high-level delegation to the summit, Russia’s biggest annual business event and supervised by President Vladimir Putin. The pipeline contract would be first on a list of accords being considered, the officials said.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who Russia says will attend the forum, is seeking improved relations between the European Union and Russia. After cementing ties with Germany and Austria with several energy deals, including an accord on the Nord Stream 2 gas link, Russia now seeks to boost cooperation with Italy, the officials said.

Saipem in December filed a claim against the Moscow-based gas producer over a canceled deal to lay a pipeline in the Black Sea. The project, initially designed to deliver gas to central and southern Europe including Italy, was shelved amid the EU opposition and a worsening relationship with Turkey over Syria.

Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexey Miller said this month the company may sign new accords with Eni SpA, Saipem’s biggest owner, at the June summit, declining to elaborate.

“The Italian theme” will be strong at the event, his spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said Tuesday, also declining to provide further details.

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