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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gasunie Pipe Deal Expected

Dutch energy firm Gasunie will probably finalize a deal to acquire a 9 percent share in the Nord Stream gas pipeline project this week during Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's visit to Moscow, a Kremlin source said Monday.

The source said the deal would be finalized during talks between Balkenende and President Vladimir Putin.

State-controlled Gazprom holds 51 percent of the project to build a gas pipeline from Russia under the Baltic Sea to Germany.

The deal under discussion could see Gasunie, the Dutch pipeline operator, taking stakes of 4.5 percent from both BASF and E.On.

German companies E.On and Wintershall, which is part of BASF, currently own 24.5 percent each in the project.

Gazprom would in turn receive a 9 percent stake in another Dutch firm, BBL Company, set up to build and operate the BBL pipeline to carry natural gas from the Netherlands to Britain.

Gasunie owns 60 percent of BBL, with E.On Ruhrgas and Belgium's Fluxys owning 20 percent each.

Gasunie might have to pay extra cash to Gazprom in the deal as a 9 percent stake in Nord Stream is potentially worth more than 9 percent in BBL, which is a smaller project.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel last month said that both Germany and Russia were seeking to build the Nord Stream pipeline on time and were eager to allay the environmental concerns of transit states over the project.