Yuzhno-Russkoye to Meet Target 2 Years Early

Gazprom and German energy group Wintershall will be able to reach maximum production at the Siberian Yuzhno-Russkoye gas field in 2009, two years ahead of schedule, a Wintershall executive said Thursday.

"Production ... can be expanded more quickly than initially planned," Wintershall board member Rainer Seele said. "We will reach the maximum of 25 billion cubic meters in 2009 and thus two years earlier than originally expected."

Gazprom owns the majority of the field, while BASF, the parent of Wintershall, has a 25 percent stake minus one share, which will feed the Nord Stream gas pipeline that will take Russian gas to Europe from late 2011.

He said Nord Stream was not trying to compete with other pipelines, as all new transport channels under consideration were important.

Seele specifically included in that reference the Nabucco pipeline project, which is planned for taking Caspian region gas to Europe via Georgia and Turkey, bypassing Russia.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin weighed in on the heightened energy-supply concerns Thursday, telling members of the Valdai discussion forum in Sochi, "Let's just finish building the pipe. Quit all the squabbling," Interfax reported. "Globally, it's better to be helpful than trying to trip people," Putin was quoted as saying by participants in the discussions.

(Reuters, MT)