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Russia could build new gas pipeline to Germany

MOSCOW, August 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is looking into extending Gazprom's North European gas pipeline to Germany, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.

"We are now looking into building a branch of the pipeline, which should go straight from Russia to northern Germany," Putin said at an interview with German TV channel Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF), which was published on the Russian government's official website.

Gazprom recently begun building the Northern-European natural gas pipeline (NEG), and plans to complete the first 100 km through the Boksitogorsky area in the Leningrad region within six months.

Under the NEG project, a total of 568 km of pipelines will be built on and under land, and 1089 km under the Baltic Sea. The pipeline will begin transporting gas in two years' time, and should reach its planned capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year in 2009. The total cost of the project is currently estimated at $5.7 billion.

Gazprom's decision to build the pipeline is linked to the company's development of the South Russian gas field.

The pipeline will pass through Russia's Vyborg region, go under the Baltic Sea, and emerge in Greifswald, in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany. Offshoots may then be built under the Baltic Sea to link the pipeline with Russia's Kaliningrad region, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and the UK.

The NEG pipeline will not use any other countries for transit, which will lower transport costs and make it more reliable for export.

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