8 November 2011, 20:26

Russia, Germany open Nord Stream

Russia, Germany open Nord Stream
Download audio file

The Nord Stream gas pipeline was launched in the town of Lubmin in northwestern Germany on Tuesday to become the shortest route to deliver the Russian gas to 26 million consumers in Europe. The project is a response to a gas deficit forecast to hit Europe in 2030.

The Nord Stream gas pipeline was launched in the town of Lubmin in northwestern Germany on Tuesday to become the shortest route to deliver the Russian gas to 26 million consumers in Europe. The project is a response to a gas deficit forecast to hit Europe in 2030.

All experts agree that the Nord Stream pipeline has become an additional gas route which will strengthen the European energy security. It will help increase the volume of gas delivered to Europe, which is very important in view of the continuing economic crisis, Russia`s President Dmitry Medvedev said as he attended the opening ceremony:

"Natural gas from Russia, and the electricity generated from this natural gas will ensure a stability of energy supplies to Europe and thus will make the lives of millions of people more comfortable. The new route is expected to meet a growing demand for gas. Once the second leg of the pipeline is commissioned in the coming years, European consumers will be receiving up to 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Quite an impressive figure, indeed. We expect that as soon as we manage to overcome the current financial difficulties, our consumers might see their energy demand grow even bigger by 2020, up to 200 billion cubic meters."

The authors of the project have tried their best to make the Nord Stream environmentally-friendly. The environmental impact of the pipeline will be monitored in 16 areas, including the assessment of water pollution and the impact the gas route might have on the nearby flora, fauna and the cultural heritage. It was evident even before the pipeline had been launched that the Nord Stream`s impact on the environment would be much lower than expected. This was confirmed by the European Energy Commissioner Guenther Ettinger:

"Russia is a key energy supplier for the EU member states. Apart from the coal, oil, uranium, we are very interested in its natural gas. That is why I welcome any breakthrough in our energy cooperation. We have naval and land routes for the transportation of oil and coal, while for electricity and gas we are creating a pan-European transportation route to meet our growing demand. And the Nord Stream marks an important step in this direction. If all the environmental norms are observed, we expect the natural gas, together with renewable sources of energy, to start playing a greater role in our energy partnership. We anticipate the opening of the Nord Stream`s second line, which is due next year."

Forecasts show that the Nord Stream`s supplies will reach a 11% share in overall natural gas imports into the EU by 2032. The route is notable for having no compression stations. Apart from this, it mostly runs beyond the territorial waters, which eases the tax burden on the project. The first leg of the Nord Stream route runs through Russia, Finland, Germany, Sweden and Denmark. Originally, the cost of each line had been estimated at 2 billion euros, but as it turned out later, the project required a bigger investment. Finally, the cost of the first leg amounted to 7,4 billion euros. 70% of the cost has been met by 26 banks, while the rest 30% have been divided between the shareholders. As of today, theproject is a joint venture between the Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom, German firms BASF and EON, Dutch company Gasunie and GDF Suez of France. This kind of international partnership is very likely to ensure the project’s success, says Dmitry Medvedev:

"I am sure that both Russia and the EU are in for many future joint projects in the field of energy industry as well as in other spheres, and that we will manage to overcome any difficulties."

It must be stressed that the main source of gas supply for the Nord Stream, the Yuzhno-Russkoye field in the Yamalo-Nenets autonomous district of Russia, is being developed jointly with Gazprom and German BASF/Wintershall and E.ON. Russia’s largest gas field, it was opened in December, 2007.

  •  
    and share via