Nord Stream lets gas treatment unit

Uchenna Izundu
OGJ International Editor

LONDON, Mar. 5 -- Gazkomplektimpex, the procurement arm of OAO Gazprom, awarded a contract to Siirtec Nigi SPA to provide a gas treatment unit to be installed at the Portovaya compressor station (CS) on the Nord Stream gas trunkline.

The unit, which will treat 170 million cu m/day of gas, will be completed by 2011.

Nord Stream plans to deliver Russian gas to Germany via a dual 1,220 km pipeline under the Baltic Sea. The first pipeline, with a transmission capacity of around 27.5 billion cu m/year is scheduled to begin operation in 2011. The second line, to double the capacity, will start in 2012.

Russia is keen to have diversified supply routes to Europe to avoid acrimony with transit countries, particularly Ukraine, through which it stopped gas deliveries at the beginning of this year over unpaid bills and the failure to reach an agreement on transit and prices.

Consequently, countries most affected are seeking alternatives. For example, Bulgaria, which is solely reliant on gas from Russia, is investigating a new interconnector to Romania, linking the Bulgarian city of Rousse to the Romanian city of Giurgiu to enhance security of supply. The two countries also are looking at making a connection in the area of Isaccea to reverse flows. In addition, Bulgaria will receive gas from the Nabucco pipeline, which will deliver Central Asian and Turkish supplies from 2014.

Bulgaria also is pursuing a 150 km pipeline link to Greece from Haskovo in Bulgaria to Komotini in Greece with support from the European Commission. The project is expected to cost €100-120 million.

Gazprom's diversification plans are controversial in the Baltic States that are unhappy about losing out on transit revenue. They also are concerned about the Kremlin attempting to use energy as a political tool by threatening their gas supplies without affecting deliveries to Western Europe.

Nord Stream has appointed Romans Baumanis as its regional advisor for the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Nord Stream expects the transboundary environmental report for the line through the Baltic Sea to be ready for public participation early this month.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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