Germany's former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder apparently has a new boss: Mr. Vladimir Putin.
Germany's Schroeder Joins Russian-German Gas Pipeline Project
Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will lead the shareholders committee for a German- Russian gas-pipeline project to pump gas under the Baltic Sea, OAO Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller said today.
State-controlled Gazprom began building the more than 4- billion-euro ($4.7 billion) North European gas pipeline project today in the town of Babaeyvo in Russia's Volodga region, north of Moscow.
The pipeline will allow Gazprom to ship gas directly to Germany, bypassing Poland, Ukraine and Belarus. It will carry 27.5 billion cubic meters of gas a year in 2010 and twice that much by 2012, Miller said. Gazprom will raise gas exports to Europe 4.1 percent to 151 billion cubic meters in 2006 following a 3.1 percent jump this year as demand and prices rise.
Gazprom owns 51 percent of the project and Germany's BASF and E.ON each hold 24.5 percent.
On September 8, 2005, Schroeder - then still German chancellor - attended the signing of the contract for the pipeline, together with Putin. The pipeline had a clear political background - the contract needed the approval of the German as well as the Russian government. The deal increased Germany's already dangerous reliance on Russian gas deliveries.
I guess the two chaps used the opportunity to also discuss Schroeder's future role at Gazprom.
This is a conflict of interest if there ever was one. I'm sure the German media will be furious about Schroeder's decision to join Gazprom, so soon after the signing of the pipeline contract.