12 September 2011, 14:03

Right on schedule

Right on schedule
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The first portion of Russian gas pumped through the Nord Stream pipeline has reached its final destination - Germany. The project’s first string will come to full capacity in November, the same month when the official launch of one of the decade’s main energy projects is going to take place.

The first portion of Russian gas pumped through the Nord Stream pipeline has reached its final destination - Germany. The project’s first string will come to full capacity in November, the same month when the official launch of one of the decade’s main energy projects is going to take place.

Technological gas arrived in the German city of Lubmin right on schedule. On September 6th, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin opened the gate for blue-sky fuel to be transported to Europe from Nord Stream’s Vyborg-based first line. Necessary pressure inside the pipe was built up as early as on the evening of September 10th . The project’s full-fledged launch requires at least a month, says National Energy Institute general director Sergei Pravosudov interviewed by the Voice of Russia.

"Initially, to ensure the pipeline’s normal functioning, it should be filled with continuously pumped technological gas. Its arrival in Germany implies that the system has started working. It will have operated for a month when the official opening ceremony takes place. Everything is going to be OK, with Russian gas safely reaching its European consumers," Sergei Pravosudov elaborates.

The Nord stream is one of the most important recent energy projects aimed at mitigating transit risks for the Russian fuel and guaranteeing the safety of its delivery to Europe. For the time being, this strategic task is more than ever relevant - in view of the Ukrainian government’s latest actions, with Kiev threatening to denounce the existing gas purchase agreements. However, this dictate appears to be coming to an end, Sergei Pravosudov goes on to say.

"Ukraine attempts to use its status of a transit country to get some benefits. We’ll see what this will result in after all. If it keeps behaving like that, Russian gas will be relocated to alternative pipes, primarily the Nord Stream and the South Stream, making the Ukrainian system totally unnecessary," says Sergei Pravosudov.

In November, the Nord Stream’s first string will be officially opened by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The pipeline’s annual capacity exceeds 27 billion cubic meters of fuel. The launch of the second string in 2012 will make the project reach its planned capacity of around 55 billion cubic meters per year. Amid Europe’s constantly growing gas demand, everyone is well aware of the pipeline’s significance, continues Sergei Pravosudov.

"Europe, with its increasing demand and reducing production, needs more gas supplies. This facilitates the growth of imports. All of us can see the present-day situation: nuclear energy that proved to be not very reliable will be replaced by gas generation that appears as a more accessible and eco-friendly type of fuel. Russia, having the largest gas reserves on the planet, is Europe’s nearest neighbor providing more gas than anyone else. It will obviously boost its supplies in the future as well," Sergei Pravosudov says in conclusion.

Implementing the Nord Stream project alongside Russia are France’s Gaz de France Suez, Germany’s E.ON Ruhrgas and a number of other leading energy market players. The list of blue-sky fuel consumers includes Great Britain, France, Germany, Denmark, thee Netherlands and Belgium. The Nord Stream is also planned to shoulder the same amount of gas supplies to most of the Eastern European countries that currently depend on the Ukrainian transit.

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