KASSEL/BERLIN (Own report) – Wintershall, the giant German gas company, has begun reorienting the focus of its expansion drive westward. This subsidiary of the mega chemical company, BASF, had set high hopes on having direct access to Russia’s enormous gas deposits – the largest in the world – which would have brought it to within reach of the summit of the world’s natural gas sector. This perspective was obliterated by the escalation of tensions between Moscow and the West. An additional impetus for the necessary search for an alternative is provided by the fact that German gas imports from the Netherlands are on the verge of being shut down. Beginning 2020, The Hague intends to drastically reduce gas production from the country’s largest gas field, because draining the deposit would heighten dangers of earthquakes. Wintershall is particularly expanding its activities in Norway and has already begun shale gas production in Argentina, where the world’s second largest shale gas deposits are estimated to be found. Wintershall’s orientation shift also reduces its interest in business with Russia, while reinforcing its transatlantic interest.