By Anastasia Pershkina
Since the second branch-line of the Nord Stream Gas Pipeline (NSGP) has been commissioned, it is starting to work at full capacity. Experts say that this is one of the most successful projects in Europe, adding that its construction should continue.
The NSGP project was implemented within a record period. The decision on the construction of a new gas pipeline was made in 2005. However, the panel of investors was finely defined only in 2010. On that list were the Russian gas giant Gazprom with 51 per cent of shares, and also Germany’s Wintershall Holding and E.ON Ruhrgas, France’s GDF Suez, and Holland’s Gasunie that divided the remaining package of shares between themselves. It was exactly at that time that the coordination of project-related details was completed with the countries through the territorial waters of which it was planned to lay the pipe across the Baltic Sea bed. Once this was done, the construction of the gas pipeline started. In November of 2011 the first branch-line of the Nord Stream Gas Pipeline that linked Vyborg in Russia with Greifswald in Germany was put into operation. Now, once Russia’s natural gas is sent through a parallel pipe, it will make its way, bypassing the transit countries – Ukraine and Poland. Speaking about the opening of the second branch-line, President Putin stressed that this project is of great significance for the European Union as well as further development of its relations with Russia:
“The Nord Stream Gas Pipeline can satisfy Europe’s growing needs for energy resources. The transportation of gas will be carried out directly and along the shortest route possible, thus, linking Russia’s biggest gas deposits with the European markets without transit risks – steadily and non-stop. We guarantee that. Russia has always honoured and will continue to honour its commitments as a reliable and predictable supplier of fuel to European markets. We believe that the European Union will promote effective use of Nord Stream’s potential.”
The leaders of the European countries that are also involved in this project have not ignored this event either. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel also said a few words about the significance of the Nord Stream Gas Pipeline for strengthened cooperation between Russia and Europe:
“One of the grandiose projects of our time in the field of energy infrastructure has come close to successful completion. The commissioning of the second branch-line of the Nord Stream Gas Pipeline offers proof that energy partnership between Russia and the European Union has a good foundation. Our long-term and equal in rights cooperation is beneficial for the two sides: Europe acquires greater reliability regarding energy supplies since gas remains a very important fuel for the two countries, and Russia, for its part, secures for itself a stable demand for gas and thus, the most beneficial gas sales.”
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says that this is a revolutionary project in the full sense of the word:
“The main thing here is that the share-holders of the Nord Stream Gas Pipeline plan to continue their work. At the moment they are considering the possibility to lengthen the gas pipeline, adding to it another two branches, with one of them being aimed at Britain.”
This winter will be the final test for the Nord Stream Gas Pipeline. Gazprom officials are sure that there will be no problems with gas supplies. The annual capacity of the new gas pipeline is 55 billion cubic metres of gas annually. However, what amount of Russian gas Europe will use and whether it will give up working with other suppliers remains the main intrigue.