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BASF, Gazprom bury asset swap

December 18, 2014

Germany's chemicals giant BASF and Russian energy company Gazprom have agreed to call off an important asset swap that the two firms had planned for the end of the year. The reason for the move was not immediately given.

Achimgaz Wintershall-Gazprom joint venture
Image: DW/Andrey Gurkov

In a surprise announcement Thursday, BASF said a planned major asset swap with Gazprom would not come about.

Russia currently faces a raft of sanctions from the European Union and the US over the Ukraine crisis. No specific reason was given by either company why the deal was called off.

The envisaged swap would have seen BASF subsidiary Wintershall transfer a jointly operated natural gas trading and storage business to Gazprom.

General cooperation not questioned

The Russian energy heavyweight would also have received a 50-percent share in the activities of a unit exploring and producing oil and gas in the southern areas of the North Sea.

In return, Gazprom and Wintershall would have jointly developed two additional blocks of an important gas field in Siberia.

When announcing the scrapping of the planned deal, BASF officials only mentioned "a difficult political setting". But BASF Chief Executive Kurt Bock insisted that his company's joint ventures with Gazprom - developed over more than two decades – would be continued despite the setback.

hg/nz (AP, Reuters)