Nord Stream gas goes on-line today

The Russian gas pipeline bypassing all transit countries to Germany by being routed under the Baltic Sea goes live today.

RT: After 13 years of planning and two years of construction, the Nord Stream pipeline will deliver its first supplies of Russian gas to an estimated 26 million homes in the EU on Tuesday. 

Vladmir Putin pressed the start button on gas supplies from Russia to Germany through the Nord Stream pipeline two months ago. Now, it is President Medvedev who is in Germany for a ceremony to mark the arrival of the first shipment. 

The Nord Stream pipeline, passing under the Baltic Sea from the city of Vyborg in Russia’s Leningrad region to Germany´s Greifswald, will be unique in many ways. It is the longest sub-sea pipeline in the world – over 1,200 kilometers – and it will operate under the highest pressure as well. 

At 7.4 billion euro, it is undoubtedly expensive, but the pipeline is expected to function for up to 50 years, so there is plenty of time to generate a return, in social as well as economic terms. 

Bypassing all transit countries, it´ will make gas supplies from Russia, which make up about 25% of total gas supplies to Europe, more certain. The disruptions of 2007 and 2008, when Gazprom and Naftogaz of Ukraine failed to agree on supplies to Ukraine and transit of supplies for the EU, will remain firmly in the past. … the pipeline will satisfy one fourth of the European demand for gas. The capacity of the first line is 27.5 billion cubic meters a year. The second line will be completed in 2012 with 600 kilometers of it having already been built. The commissioning of the second line will boost yearly gas supplies to Europe to 55 billion cubic meters but is unlikely to meet the EU’s demands in full.

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