Nord Stream to commence next month

RIA Novosti / Igor Samoilov
Gazprom CEO, Alexei Miller, has told Prime Minister Putin that the Nord Stream gas pipeline along the floor of the Baltic Sea, which will commence operation in early November.

­At the meeting Miller added that as demand increased the company, Russia’s monopoly gas exporter would look at increasing capacity.

“We are proud to announce the start of gas transportation through the Nord Stream pipeline from November 8. As concerns additional Nord Stream capacity, it could be possible to consider the possibility of creating additional branches in the context of the already created corridor. The trend, we see, will continue with growth in the amount of Russian gas delivered to Europe. We see positive trends in export directions. Over the first nine months of 2011, 25 billion more cubic meters were exported than during the same period of last year And doubtlessly, there will appear on the agenda the question   of building, of the creation of new gas-transport capacity for delivering additional export volumes of Russian gas to EU countries.”

Miller noted that the volume of export depends on consumption in different EU countries but the growing economies represent the biggest part in Russian gas consumption

“Of course, in Europe we are seeing turbulent processes, and the dynamics of consumption in different countries in Europe are showing different outcomes. But growth in consumption is associated primarily with growth in deliveries of gas to countries [that are] the European Union's economic leaders.  The trend, we see, will continue with a growing volume of Russian gas deliveries to Europe,”

Meanwhile the feasibility study for the building of the South Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Europe has been completed, and Miller told PM Putin that the project was is technologically and economically viable.

“The combined South Stream feasibility study is completed. It was done on the basis of the feasibility of both the maritime section and dry-land sections in the countries through which the pipeline will run. The combined feasibility study showed that the project is economically effective and technically realizable, and we have moved to the next stage – to working up project documentation,”

“The work is being done according to schedule, and we now once again confirm that the project will be done by December of 2015, and the first commercial South Stream gas  will be delivered to consumers,”

The South Stream project initiated by Gazprom in cooperation with Eni of Italy, EDF of France, and BASF/Wintershall of Germany is aimed at diversifying natural gas transport routes to consumers in Europe and involves building a pipeline across the Black Sea floor to countries in Southern and Central  Europe. The maritime section is expected to have throughput capacity of up to 63 billion cubic meters per year. As reported, EDF and BASF will each get 15% in the project, while Eni's stake drops to 20%. Gazprom will retain 50%.

At the meeting the Russian PM referred to raids on Gazprom subsidiaries and partners in recent weeks by EC officials, believed to be in relation to competition laws.  He noted that the Russian government was watching the situation carefully and comply with all EC requests.

“You should cooperate with the authorities of the countries where you work, and you  need to be open, help the inspecting bodies and provide them with impartial and full information,”

Miller replied that the inquiries by EU officials would not affect Russian gas deliveries to Europe.

“These events appeared to be an unpleasant surprise for us. Gazprom has always been and will remain open for dialogue and we hope that legal interests of our company will be respected. We will continue fulfilling all obligations according to contracts we have with European partners and reserve all the rights that we are ready to defend in legal environment.”