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MOSCOW, August 29 (Itar-Tass) — The last joint in the Nord Stream gas pipeline’s second string has been welded.
The last joint connected the maritime section of the pipeline’s second stretch with the onshore section and ground infrastructure on the Russian coast off Vyborg.
The second stretch of the pipeline will started to be filled with gas within days before it is commissioned. It will be ready to start supplying natural to Europe in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Nord Stream is a totally new route for exporting Russian natural gas to Europe. The pipeline runs through the Baltic Sea from the Prtovaya Bay off Vyborg to Germany (Greifswald). The pipeline will be 1,224 kilometres long.
Based on long-term comprehensive analysis of technical, environmental and economic aspects and factors of the European energy security, the offshore route is the optimal solution for the new pipeline carrying gas to Europe.
The Baltic Sea waters along Nord Stream were thoroughly examined before starting the pipe placement. As straight as possible, the pipeline route was adjusted, however, with due consideration for special areas, such as environmentally sensitive regions, chemical weapons dump sites, military zones, critical navigation routes and other dedicated areas serving business or recreational purposes. Nord Stream is designed so as not to cross the World War II ammunition dump sites.
Nord Stream will receive natural gas from the Unified Gas Supply System of Russia.
The Yuzhno-Russkoye oil and gas field will be a key resource base for gas supplies via the pipeline. The Nord Stream will also export gas from the Yamal Peninsula, Ob and Taz Bays, Shtokman field.
The Nord Stream project is implemented by Nord Stream AG, a joint venture set up for designing, constructing and further operating the offshore pipeline.
At present, the Nord Stream AG shareholding structure is as follows: Gazprom (51 percent), Wintershall Holding (BASF subsidiary) and E. ON Ruhrgas (15.5 percent each), Gasunie and GDF Suez (9 percent each).
In March 2010 the Nord Stream consortium borrowed external funds totaling 3.9 billion euros from a syndicate of 26 banks to implement Phase 1 of the project. Export credit agencies SACE and Hermes provided guarantees covering 3.1 billion euros of the above mentioned amount.
In April 2010 the Nord Stream gas pipeline construction was launched in the Baltic Sea. Three vessels were be engaged between 2010 and 2011 to lay the first string of the gas pipeline: Castoro 6, Castoro 10 and Solitaire.
In September 2011 natural gas was fed into the first string of the gas pipeline. Nord Stream’s first string with the throughput of 27.5 billion cubic meters of gas a year was commissioned on November 8, 2011. Commercial supplies of Russian gas to the European Union via Nord Stream’s first string started on that very day.
The entire gas volume has already been contracted out by major international energy companies.
The construction of the second string will increase the gas pipeline throughput to 55 billion cubic metres a year. The second string of the gas pipeline will reach the German coast near the town of Greifswald in 2012, Gazprom said.