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Nord Stream pre-commissioning due in October

19th April 2012

Russia commits more work to European pipeline project which should reach full capacity this year

The Nord Stream twin pipeline system through the Baltic Sea runs from Vyborg, Russia to Lubmin near Greifswald, Germany

Russia will launch the second leg of the Nord Stream pipeline, intended to deliver Russian natural gas to Europe bypassing existing transit countries, in October 2012, Russian gas giant Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said on Thursday.

"We have started pre-commissioning work and ... in October we will start commercial supplies," Miller told president-elect Vladimir Putin at a meeting.

Miller said the launch of the second leg would make Nord Stream a fully automated twin-pipeline gas transport system capable of transporting 55 billion cubic meters of gas annually from Russia to the European Union.

The first leg of the pipeline, which connects Russia and Germany along the Baltic Sea bed and has an annual capacity of 27.5 billion cubic meters of gas, was launched in November 2011.

Share of Russian gas supplies to the European market grew last year to 27 per cent from 24 per cent. The EU will need 100 billion cubic meters as additional deliveries in next seven or eight years because gas consumption in the region will increase in nearest years, Miller added.

The pipeline’s core shareholders include Gazprom with 51 per cent, Germany’s Wintershall Holding and E.ON Ruhrgas (15.5 per cent each), France's GDF Suez and the Netherlands' Gasunie (nine percent each).

The project was formally openedin November 2011 at a ceremony in Germany attended by chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian president Dmitry Medvedev.

The pipeline allows Siberian gas to flow directly to Germany, via twin pipelines under the Baltic Sea.

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