Germany has been, and remains, the largest buyer of Russian natural gas. Its total import volumes in 2016, including resales and gas auctions, came to 49.83 bcm.

The total volume of natural gas sold to Germany since deliveries began (1973, including East Germany) is around 1 trillion cubic meters.

Russian natural gas is supplied to Germany under Gazprom Export’s contracts with E.ON Global Commodities SE (formerly Ruhrgas AG), WIEH GmbH & Co. KG, WINGAS GmbH, and Shell Energy Europe Ltd.

Joint-stock company Ruhrgas AG was founded in 1926. Its operations included the purchase and transmission of natural gas along main pipelines, with subsequent sales to gas distribution companies. The company also engaged in the whole range of issues related to gas transmission system design, construction, and operation. In early 2003, the German energy corporation E.ON AG became the sole shareholder of Ruhrgas AG.

As of January 1, 2016, E.ON restructured its business by dividing into two companies. The first of these, retaining the name E.ON, will focus on renewable energy sources (wind, solar, and hydro power), distribution issues, and client services. The second company, now known as Uniper (Unique Performance), will take charge of power generation from nonrenewable sources, exploration, extraction, and gas trading. Uniper imports natural gas from Russia, the Netherlands, Norway, and Denmark, accounting for around 60% of gas supplied to the German market.

Gazprom Export’s four main contracts with Uniper have been extended to 2035. The total volume of gas supplied to the Uniper company’s legal predecessors from the start of deliveries to the present stands at over 620 bcm.

Also, Shell Energy Europe Ltd. signed a 20-year contract with Gazprom Export for the supply of 1.2 bcm of gas per year.

With the aim of making natural gas sales more efficient and increasing market share in Germany, Gazprom and Wintershall AG (100% owned by BASF SE) have established two joint ventures in Germany: WIEH (1990) and WINGAS (1993). Several long-term contracts have been concluded with WIEH and WINGAS until 2031.

Gazprom and BASF SE completed an asset swap on October 1, 2015. This deal resulted in Gazprom increasing its stake in the European gas trading and storage companies WINGAS, WIEH, and WIEE to 100%.

In 2013, WINGAS started receiving gas via the Nord Stream pipeline.

In 2016, Gazprom Export supplied a total of 29.2 bcm via WINGAS and WIEH.

Related sections:
Nord Stream 2, Gas Transportation, Storage