MOSCOW (Sputnik) — "Nord Stream 2 AG [operating company] has finalized its international tender for the supply of high-quality steel pipes for two pipelines…Deciding the tender now is a prerequisite for keeping the pipeline construction timeline with construction of both pipelines starting in 2018. Pipe deliveries are planned to start in September 2016," the operator's press release read.
In September, Russian energy giant Gazprom and its European partner companies signed a shareholders agreement on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. The signatories were Gazprom, E.On, Shell, OMV, BASF and Engie. The Swiss-based Nord Stream 2 AG company was created to operate the gas pipeline and its construction. Its chairman is former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder.
Final negotiations and the contract signing are due to take place in the coming weeks, the statement added.
Nord Stream 2 could provide up to 55 billion cubic meters of direct gas supplies from Russian shores through the Baltic Sea, bypassing Baltic states and Poland, to the German coast. The project has met opposition from some EU member states, such as Poland and the Czech Republic, over fears of increased energy dependence on Russia. Germany has consistently supported the project.