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MOSCOW, January 10. /TASS/. The Nord Stream pipeline operated at 80 per cent of its annual capacity of 55 bln cubic meters in 2016, gas supplies to consumers in the European Union totaled 43.8 bcm of natural gas, the project’s operator said in a press release on Tuesday. This is a 12% increase year-on-year.
"This is yet another increase compared to the previous years: 39.1 bcm in 2015 (71 %), 35.5 bcm in 2014 (65%), and 23.8 bcm in 2013 (43%)," the press release said.
According to the press release, in the five years since the start of operations of the pipeline system, Nord Stream has reliably and safely fulfilled all transport nominations without interruptions. Until the end of 2016, a total of 154.4 bcm has been transported to the EU.
The average utilization rate of the pipeline has constantly increased over the past years.
In December 2016, the average load was as high as 87 %.
The twin pipeline system through the Baltic Sea from Vyborg, Russia to Lubmin near Greifswald, Germany is the shortest connection between the vast gas reserves in Russia and energy markets in the European Union. In Germany, the gas is transferred to the connecting pipelines OPAL and NEL.
On December 29, 2016, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller told a conference call that the Nord Stream gas pipeline was now loaded by more than 100%.
Then the load reached 150 mln cubic meters per day. The increase in supply became possible after the European Commission had allowed Gazprom to use 90% of OPAL, through which gas is supplied to the Nord Stream. Previously the Russian holding could use only 50% of OPAL.