European Leaders Celebrate Arrival Of Russian Gas Via Nord Stream

November 2011, Vol. 238 No. 11

Government, political and industry leaders from around Europe gathered at Lubmin on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast Nov. 8 to celebrate the arrival of gas through the Nord Stream Pipeline.

German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, the prime ministers of France (François Fillon) and the Netherlands (Mark Rutte), and EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger formally inaugurated the first of Nord Stream’s twin 1,224-km gas pipelines through the Baltic Sea. When fully operational in late 2012, Nord Stream’s twin pipelines will have the capacity to transport 55 Bcm/a of Russian gas to the EU for at least 50 years.

The celebrations were led by the heads of the four countries whose companies are shareholders in Nord Stream as well as the heads of the shareholder companies, which are: Gazprom, BASF/Wintershall, E.ON Ruhrgas, Nederlandse Gasunie and GDF Suez.

“Nord Stream has provided Gazprom with a safe, modern and efficient additional route through which to supply gas to its partners and customers in the EU, in addition to the existing transit routes through Ukraine and Belarus,” said Matthias Warnig, Nord Stream Managing Director. Nord Stream is a commercial project based on long-term contracts by Gazprom Export to supply customers in Germany, Denmark, the UK, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, the Czech Republic and other countries.

“This new fixed link between Russia and the EU is one of the long-term solutions for the EU’s energy security,” Warnig added. “All experts agree that Europe faces a long-term shortfall in gas supplies: the International Energy Agency sees natural gas becoming the most important fuel in the EU energy mix by 2030, but domestic gas production is declining. To help meet this long-term increase in demand for gas imports, our shareholders have committed to this long-term solution, creating a fixed link for at least 50 years between European markets and Russia’s massive gas reserves.”