FRANKFURT, March 22 (Reuters) - BASF's oil and gas subsidiary Wintershall expects a significant rise in sales and earnings in 2017 after steep declines last year due to an asset swap with its key partner Gazprom in 2015, which removed gas trading and storage revenues.
Chief Executive Mario Mehren said that higher earnings from its Russian gas field participation at Yuzhno Russkoye as well as higher oil and gas prices would contribute to the increases in the year ahead.
"Our Russian projects are successful. Russia is our most important focus region. That will not change," he said.
Last year, oil prices fell 15.4 percent to $44 per barrel on average for North Sea grade Brent. Wintershall's planning is based on an average $55 this year. It also sees higher gas prices after a decline by 30 percent in north-west European prices last year.
Wintershall's parent BASF had reported results on Feb 26, with Wintershall accounting for 8.2 percent of the group's adjusted EBIT. (Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Ludwig Burger)