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Wintershall, Gazprom postpone prod start of Achimgaz JV

Wintershall AG and Russian natural gas monopoly OAO Gazprom have postponed the production start of their Achimgaz joint-venture by several months, the German upstream oil and gas company told Dow Jones Newswires.

The 50-50 joint-venture will produce natural gas and condensate from the deeper Achimov formation of the Urengoy Field in western Siberia. The field will produce a total of around 200 billion cubic meters of gas and 40 million tons of condensate over a 40 year period. Initially, production was scheduled to start in mid-2007. Wintershall, a fully-owned unit of German chemicals group BASF AG, said the delay in production was related to the difficult geographic conditions of the gas field.

The field is located at 3,000 to 4,000 meters depth in the western Siberian tundra, where permafrost freezes the ground to a depth of around 700 meters. Achimgaz is Wintershall’s second largest gas upstream project after Yuzhno Russkoye, which it intends to exploit with owner OAO Gazprom and German utility E.ON AG. Gazprom and E.ON are in the final stages of negotiating an asset swap deal under which E.ON will receive a 25% less one share stake in the gas field. The Yuzhno-Russkoye gas field has proven reserves of around 700 billion cubic meters. (oilandgaseurasia)