Nord Stream natural gas pipeline has begun line fill of its 27.5 billion cu m/year Line 1. Fill will continue for about 4 weeks, with commercial operations scheduled to start in October.
Construction of the 1,200-km pipeline, extending through the Baltic Sea from Vyborg, Russia, to Greifswald, Germany, began Apr. 9, 2010. Russia's Gazprom expects Line 2, a parallel line of the same capacity, to follow in 2012.
Saipem SPA's Castoro 6 and Castoro 10 as well as Allseas Group SA's Solitaire conducted pipe lay for Nord Stream.
Last month Nord Stream completed connection to the newly built 470-km OPAL natural gas pipeline (Ostsee-Pipeline-Anbindungs-Leitung–Baltic Sea Pipeline Link). OPAL will move Nord Stream gas across Europe as far as the Czech Republic (OGJ Online, Nov. 29, 2010). The last welding seam connecting the first line of Nord Stream and OPAL occurred on the grounds of the natural gas transfer station in Lubmin near Greifswald, where the Nord Stream makes German landfall.
In addition to Gazprom, BASF subsidiary Wintershall Holding GMBH, E.On Ruhrgas AG, Dutch company NV Nederlandse Gasunie, and GDF Suez from France all hold stakes in Nord Stream. The Wingas Group has an 80% share in OPAL, with E.On Ruhrgas holding the remaining 20%.
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