Today, under the framework of International investment forum Sochi - 2011 in the presence of Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin was signed shareholders' Agreement on offshore section of the South Stream project.

The document was signed by Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Company's Management Committee, Paolo Scaroni, Chief executive officer of ENI, Harald Schwager, Member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE, and Henri Proglio, Chairman and CEO of EDF.

In accordance to the Agreement Wintershall Holding and EDF companies obtain 15 per cent participation share each in the offshore section of the South Stream project owing to a reduction in ENI stakes by 30 per cent.

As a result, offshore section participation shares of the South Stream project are now split in the following way: Gazprom - 50 per cent, ENI - 20 per cent, Wintershall Holding and EDF - 15 per cent each.

"Two new shareholders from Germany and France have joined the South Stream project. Participation of major European energy companies in the project highlights that EU countries admit its timeliness and necessity. No doubt, South Stream will not only create an additional route for secure and uninterrupted supplies of Russian gas to Europe, but also will boost economic development of Central and Southeast Europe," Alexey Miller said.

"Together with Gazprom and other European partners, with the Nord Stream Baltic Sea Pipeline we are already demonstrating how we can increase gas supply security in Europe. We are now working together to improve supply security in the south eastern EU member states, in which Gazprom and Wintershall have been successfully involved in gas trading for many years," said Harald Schwager.

"ENI has long been a partner of Russia and Gazprom, and has extensive experience in the gas sector having already worked with Gazprom on the Blue Stream gas pipeline. The entry of two other European companies into the South Stream project represents a further step in consolidating the partnership strategy between Europe and Russia," Paolo Scaroni declared.

"The signing of this shareholders' agreement marks a milestone for the South Stream project which will fully benefit from the close collaboration of the four major global energy players that are: Gazprom, ENI, Wintershall and EDF. We work together to ensure the success of this project that will play a role in addressing the growing need for gas in Europe," Henri Proglio said.

EDF Group, one of the leaders in the energy market in Europe, is a comprehensive energy service provider with operations in every business, including energy generation, transport, distribution, trading and sales. The Group is theleading electricity producer in Europe. In France, it mainly has nuclear and hydraulic production facilities, with an electricity output that is 95% free of CO2 emissions. EDF's transport and distribution subsidiaries operate 1,285,000 km of low and medium voltage overhead andunderground electricity lines and around 100,000 km of high and very high voltage networks. The Group is involved in supplying energy and services to more than 28 million customers in France.

The Group generated consolidated sales of €65.2 billion in 2010, of which 44.5% inFrance. EDF is listed on the Paris Stock Exchange and is a member of the CAC 40 index.

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