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Russia, EU agree to make 100% use of OPAL gas pipeline

January 28, 2014, 22:15 UTC+3 BRUSSELS
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BRUSSELS, January 28, 21:49 /ITAR-TASS/. Russia and the European Union have agreed to make a 100-percent use of the OPAL pipeline, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday at a news conference after the Russia-EU summit.

“We had problems with the extension of the Nord Stream gas pipeline - the OPAL pipeline network in Germany,” Putin said. “We have agreed to use it not to 50 percent but to the entire 100 percent. So, we have made progress even on the most complicated issues.”

Germany’s OPAL network is an onshore extension of the Nord Stream gas pipeline linking Russia and the European Union bypassing transit countries. The European Commission however extended the Third Energy Package onto this pipeline obliging its operator to provide up to 50 percent of its capacities to third companies.

In the spring of 2013, Russia asked the European Commission to restore OPAL’s initial right to reserve 100 percent of capacities for the transportation of Russian gas pumped via Nord Stream to Europe for its further supplies to Germany and the Czech Republic. According to the Russian side, the German pipeline cannot be loaded with non-Russian gas, since only Russian gas is supplied to its initial point in Greifswald.

The Nord Stream gas pipeline has two pipeline sections with an overall length of 1,224 kilometres and a capacity of 27.5 billion cubic metres of gas a year each. It will link the European Union’s energy system with biggest natural gas fields directly across the Baltic Sea. Both sections will be able to pump 55 billion cubic metres of gas for a period of at least 50 years.

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