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BASF,'s Wintershall Buys Gazprom's Gas Field Stake

Chemicals giant BASF has sealed a gas deal with Russia

German chemicals giant BASF has acquired 35% of a natural gas field in Russia from Gazprom, the national gas giant and the biggest gas exporter in the world.

BASF's Wintershall unit would acquire 35% minus one share in Severneftegazprom (SNGP), the company that owns the licence to develop the Yuzhno-Russkoye gas field in western Siberia.

The deal "contributes to the further development of a stable and reliable partnership" between the two firms, BASF chief executive Juergen Hambrecht said.

"This is the first time in contemporary history that Russia has allowed a foreign partner into gas production on a gigantic field, which will be exploited for decades," said Mr Putin on the deal, who currently is meeting with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel in Siberia.

Germany is Russia's largest trading partner. Total trade between the two nations added up to $50bn in 2005.