Germany has been and remains the largest Russian natural gas buyer. The total volume, including trading in this country, reached 40 billion cubic meters in 2013.
Russian natural gas is delivered to Germany under contracts signed between Gazprom Export and E.ON Global Commodities, WIEH GmbH & Co. KG, WINGAS GmbH, and Shell Energy Europe Ltd. The total volume of natural gas exported by Russia to Germany since the start of deliveries (in 1973, including the former German Democratic Republic) to date has reached more than 1 trillion cubic meters.
Joint-stock company Ruhrgas was founded in 1926. Its operations include the purchase and transmission of natural gas along main pipelines, with its subsequent sale to gas distribution companies. The company is also involved in the comprehensive design, construction and operation of gas transmission systems.
In early 2003, the major German energy company E.ON AG acquired Ruhrgas as a sole shareholder, becoming E.ON Ruhrgas AG.
E.ON Ruhrgas AG imports natural gas from Russia, the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark, providing more than 50% of the total volume of gas delivered to the German market. E.ON Ruhrgas AG delivers Russian natural gas to Germany and Switzerland under several long-term contracts.
In August 2006, Gazprom Export and E.ON Ruhrgas AG extended four prime contracts from 2020 until 2035. In July 2012, contract terms with E.ON Ruhrgas AG was adapted to suit the European market regulations.
At the request of the German regulator, the company was divided into a trading and transportation company in 2010. Since October 1, 2010, a long-term agreement with transport company E.ON Gastransport GmbH on Russian natural gas transportation through Germany to the Netherlands and Belgium has been in force. A series of other short-term contracts are also in effect. In late 2010, the company was renamed to Open Grid Europe.
Since the beginning of exports, as of present, E.ON Ruhrgas AG has received a total of more than 600 billion cubic meters of gas.
In order to improve the efficiency of Russian gas sales and increase its share in the Germany market, Gazprom and Wintershall AG (100% owned by BASF AF) created two joint ventures in Germany — WIEH (1990) and WINGAS (1993).
Several long-term contracts have been concluded with WIEH and WINGAS. Gazprom Export has signed an agreement with WIEH, WINGAS and WIEE extending these contracts till 2031.
In 2013, WINGAS started receiving 680 million cubic meters of gas via the Nord Stream gas pipeline.
In cooperation with Gazprom, Gazprom Germania and GM&T, work is continuing to integrate WINGAS into Gazprom Group under the Master Agreement signed between Gazprom and Wintershall AG to swap assets.
Once Gazprom Export’s subsidiary company — Gazprom Marketing & Trading Ltd. (GM&T) was founded in Britain, it began to develop cooperation with WINGAS concerning gas sales on the British market. The first small deliveries began in 1999. Shipments were made using the Gazprom-owned reverse flow capacities of the Interconnector gas pipeline.
By the end of 2013, Gazprom Export’s total deliveries to Germany, Belgium and Britain through WINGAS and WIEH stood at 24 billion cubic meters.
Shell Energy Europe Ltd. signed a
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