Russian gas giant Gazprom has signed an agreement with Dutch gas infrastructure and transmission company Gasunie that will allow both companies to gain a share in each others' pipeline projects.

Under the memorandum of understanding Gazprom will gain an unspecified share in BBL Company, majority owned by Gasunie, which is responsible for constructing and operating a gas pipeline between the Netherlands and Britain. Although the size of the stake that Gazprom will take in BBL is unspecified, Gasunie’s current 60% stake in the company will not drop below 51% according to the terms of the deal.

In return, Gasunie will gain a 9% stake in the North European Gas Pipeline Company, which is majority (51%) owned by Gazprom. According to a report by the Associated Press, the North European Gas Pipeline, which runs beneath the Baltic Sea, is due to become operational in 2010, when it will have an initial capacity of 27.5 billion cubic meters a year.

Gasunie is very glad to sign this memorandum of understanding that represents the next step towards entering into a final agreement…The governments of both countries give full support to our joint businesses, which is of utmost importance for executing a project of this scale, stated Marcel Kramer, chief executive officer of Gasunie.

In other news related to Gazprom, the company’s representatives recently met with officials in China where they agreed on the terms and arrangements of gas deliveries from Russia to China via the western and eastern routes.