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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Touts Nord Stream To Schröder

Completing the Nord Stream pipeline will give Germany a new status as a "major transporter" of Russian gas, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.

"The northern European gas pipeline is in the interests of many European countries, above all Germany and Russia," Putin told Schröder, who chairs the Nord Stream shareholders' committee and is his longtime ally.

Putin's comments appeared to refer to the pipeline consortium's desire to bring in Gaz de France as an investor. The pipeline, which would run from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, is 51 percent controlled by Gazprom, with Germany's BASF/Wintershall and E.On Ruhrgas each holding 20 percent and Dutch Gasunie holding 9 percent.

Stanislav Tsygankov, head of Gazprom's external relations department, said Friday that the consortium had entered into talks with GDF. Gazprom said Tuesday that CEO Alexei Miller met with French Ambassador Jean de Gliniasty for energy talks. De Gliniasty "noted the importance of the successful completion of the Nord Stream project for Europe's energy security," Gazprom said in a statement on its web site. They also discussed Total's cooperation with Gazprom at the Shtokman gas field. Putin also wished Schröder a happy belated birthday from a week earlier.

"I'm very pleased to have a part of the celebrations in Russia. Particularly since I fell in love with Russia a long time ago," Schröder said.

Schröder adopted a daughter from a St. Petersburg orphanage in 2004.