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MOSCOW, April 18 (Itar-Tass) — Nord Stream has completed the laying of the second section of the gas pipeline.
“By the end of 2012 upon completion of start-up and commissioning the section will be ready for supplying gas to Europe,” the company said in its report on Wednesday.
“After attainment of projected capacity the gas transport system will be able to transport 55 billion cubic metres of gas to Europe via Russia over 50 years as minimum,” the report says.
Nord Stream is an offshore natural gas pipeline from Vyborg in Russia to Greifswald in Germany. It is owned and operated by Nord Stream AG. The name occasionally has a wider meaning, including the feeding onshore pipeline in Russia, and further connections in Western Europe.
The project, which was promoted by the Russian government and agreed to by the German government, was seen as controversial for various reasons, including increasing European energy dependence on Russia and potential environmental damage.
The project includes two parallel lines. The first line of the pipeline was laid by May 2011 and was inaugurated on 8 November 2011. The second line is to be laid in 2011– 2012, after which the line will be delivering gas at full throughput. At 1,222 km (759 mi) long, it is the longest sub-sea pipeline in the world, surpassing the Langeled pipeline.
The original pipeline project started in 1997 when Gazprom and the Finnish company Neste (in 1998 merged with Imatran Voima to form Fortum, and 2004 separated again) formed the joint company North Transgas Oy for construction and operation of a gas pipeline from Russia to Northern Germany across the Baltic Sea. North Transgas cooperated with the German gas company Ruhrgas (later E.ON). A route survey in the Exclusive Economic Zones of Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany, and a feasibility study of the pipeline was conducted in 1998. Several routes were considered including routes with onshore segments through Finland and Sweden.
The laying of the first line was completed on May 4, 2011 (the last pipe put in place), while all underwater works on the first line were completed on June 21, 2011. In August 2011 Nord Stream was connected with the OPAL pipeline. First gas was pumped into the first line on September 6, 2011.
The pipeline was officially inaugurated by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and French Prime Minister Francois Fillon on 8 November 2011 at the ceremony held in Lubmin. Initially, the pipeline will be able to deliver 27.5 billion cubic meters of gas annually, but this capacity will be doubled once the construction of the second pipeline is finished.