The construction of the second stage of a pipeline to pump Russian natural gas to Europe via the Baltic Sea will not be delayed over reduced gas demand, the project operator's financial director said on Thursday.
Paul Corcoran said Nord Stream AG had signed contracts for 20-25 years for natural gas supplies to Europe via the pipeline.
On April 7, Russian energy giant Gazprom began construction on the first stage of the pipeline, after Nord Stream A.G. announced in March it had secured 3.9 billion euros ($5.3 billion) in financing for the project. Gas transportation on the new line should begin in 2011.
The Nord Stream will eventually pump 55 billion cubic meters of gas to western Europe every year, bypassing traditional transit countries such as Ukraine and Belarus, which are blamed for previous disruptions in gas supplies to the region.
The project will include two pipelines, each with a capacity of 27.5 billion cubic meters a year, running from the Russian city of Vyborg near the Finnish border to Greifswald on the coast of Germany.
A ceremony marking the start of the pipeline construction will be held in Vyborg on April 9. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and a range of European Commission representatives and top-ranking officials from the countries involved in the project are expected to take part in the ceremony.
Corcoran also said accords on the construction of the pipeline's second stage would be reached by the end of the year and a 2.5 billion euro ($3.3 billion) loan would be obtained in the summer of 2011.
ST. PETERSBURG, April 8 (RIA Novosti)