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PORTOVAYA HARBOR, October 8 (Itar-Tass) —— A second line of the Nord Stream gas carrier has gone into commercial operation. The launch ceremony took place at the Portovaya compressor station.
The second line having a capacity of 27.5 billion cubic meters was commissioned at a ceremony attended by the chiefs of the Nord Stream consortium: chairman of the shareholders’ committee Gerchard Schroeder, Nord Stream Managing Director Matthias Warnig and Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller.
In his message to the participants in the ceremony Russian President Vladimir Putin said “Nord Stream is capable of meeting Europe’s growing demand for energy resources. Gas will be delivered along the shortest route, linking Russia’s largest gas fields with European markets, without any transit risks, steadily and uninterruptedly. We guarantee that.”
As Miller said, “the launch of the second line of the gas carrier on October 8 is a sort of a gift to the brain father of the idea, Russian President Vladimir Putin (on the occasion of his 60th birthday). Miller recalled that Putin initiated the straight gas pipeline to Europe during his previous presidency.
As Gerchard Schroeder said at the launch ceremony, Nord Stream is an example of effective cooperation and trust between the EU and Russia. He said Nord Stream was certainly one of the most advanced gas pipeline systems, capable of ensuring stable supplies of gas form the richest fields in Russia’s North to the European markets. Today we can say that the system is ready to start supplies.”
Germany’s federal chancellor, Angela Merkel, said in her video message: Nord Stream has demonstrated quite clearly the state and businesses may be quite successful, even if they go beyond the bounds of several state borders, function as equitable parts of one constructive and productive whole. We can take deserved pride in this truly European joint project.”
“I welcome all those who participated in this grandiose construction project – workers, specialists and engineers. It is a truly unique technical facility, one of the best infrastructural projects in Europe today,” French President Francois Hollande said.
“The importance of Nord Stream is hard to overestimate. The international energy agency is speculating the advent of the “golden age of gas.” There is a good reason for that. Natural gas is relatively inexpensive and far cleaner than the other types of fossil fuels. While we continue the search for large-scale renewable energy solutions natural gas will remain the most preferable type of fuel,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.
The first line of the seabed Nord Stream gas carrier was commissioned in November 2011. The length of the pipe under the sea is 1,224 kilometers. The cost of the project reached 7.4 billion euros. Shareholders provided 30 percent of the funds, and 70 percent came in the form of borrowings from commercial banks. According to project participants, Nord Stream will be providing up to 11 percent of the overall amount of gas the European Union will be consuming in 2030.
Each line of Nord Stream consists of concrete-coated 100,000 steel pipes.
Nord Stream’s shareholders are Gazprom (51 percent of shares), Germany’s Wintershall and E.ON Ruhrgas (each owning 15.5-percent stakes), and Dutch Gasunie and France's GDF DUEZ (9-percent stakes each).