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MOSCOW, September 6 (Itar-Tass) —— The Nord Stream pipeline has special significance for meeting the increased demand of the European market for natural gas, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said.
“The world’s biggest natural gas reserves of Russia will be linked directly to the European gas pipeline network for the first time ever,” he said.
The project is strictly on schedule, and commercial deliveries of Russian gas to EU member countries along the Nord Stream first line will begin soon, he said.
“Large international energy companies have contracted the entire amount of [Nord Stream] gas,” he said. “The putting into service of Nord Stream, the world’s longest undersea pipeline, is a remarkable event for the world gas industry.”
A ceremony, which marked the beginning of gas pumping into the first line of Nord Stream, started at the Portovaya pumping station near Vyborg on Tuesday. The operation will take about a month.
The golden joint was welded in the first line of the Nord Stream gas pipeline in the Portovaya Bay of the Vyborg district of the Leningrad region on August 19 to link the coastal segment of the pipeline on the Russian shore with the undersea segment running on the Baltic Sea bottom to Germany.
Nord Stream will be connected to the European gas distribution network in Germany in several days. The second line of the pipeline, about 600 kilometers of which have been laid, will be ready in the end of next year.
Nord Stream is a 1,220-kilometer-long offshore natural gas pipeline stretching through the Baltic Sea, from Vyborg, Russia to Greifswald, Germany, which is to be built by Nord Stream AG. Nord Stream is a joint project of four major companies: Gazprom, BASF/Wintershall Holding AG, E.ON Ruhrgas AG and N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie. Such a powerful consortium is a guarantee of the best technology, security and corporate governance.
Initially one pipeline will be built with a transport capacity of around 27.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas per annum. In the second phase, a parallel pipeline will be laid to double the annual transport capacity to around 55 billion cubic meters.
In the Russian territory, a 917-kilometer-long on-shore connection is being built by Gazprom, to connect Nord Stream to the Russian gas transmission system.
Two on-shore connections from Greifswald to the south and west of Germany with a total length of 850 kilometers will be built by WINGAS and E.ON Ruhrgas.
Nord Stream runs through the Exclusive Economic Zones of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany as well as through the territorial waters of Russia and Germany.
The route has been selected and optimized on the basis of an integrated evaluation of technical, environmental, cultural and economic factors. An integrated feasibility study conducted in 1997-1999 considered several alternative routes and landfall locations. The proposed route was judged the most feasible. Nord Stream will carry gas to Germany, from where it can be transported onwards to Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, and France. The project is open for planning peripheral pipelines to other European countries and regions in the North and West.
In all, the project will cost 7.4 billion euros. Gas deliveries will start in October 2011, with the beginning of the heating season. Nord Stream and 26 banks signed an agreement on a loan of 3.9 billion euros for the first phase of the project on March 16, 2010.