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Three giant energy pipeline projects delayed

The three projects aimed at boosting Russia’s energy exports are suffering delays. The Nord Stream gas pipeline to Europe, the East Siberia Pacific Ocean Pipeline to the Far East, and the country's first LNG (liquified natural gas) plant are all behind sc

Against a background of a tight global supply-demand balance and high prices, the news means delays could be costing the country a lot of money.

Nord Stream says that pipe-laying along the Baltic seabed to Germany will now be completed in 2010 with the gas flowing a year later. That’s a year behind schedule. But the company says there’s no reason to panic. It says the delays are because of talks with countries around the Baltic Sea and because of safety precautions.

Gazprom is committed to supplying 20.5 billion cubic metres of gas via Nord Stream starting from 2010 and is believed to be looking at alternative shipping routes.

Also due at the end of 2008 is the completion of stage one of the East Siberia – Pacific Ocean pipeline. It’s been beset by routing problems and contractors' problems. But on Monday, the board of Transneft rejected a proposal to delay it.

To add to this, Gapzrom recently notified Japan that it may miss its target to commence exports from the Sakhalin-2 plant – Russia’s first LNG plant – at the end of 2008.

The companies involved all claim operational issues are delaying start-up dates.  But the world remains thirsty for energy, and delays could mean Russia missing out on valuable export earnings.