The Shareholders of Nord Stream AG have asked the company to conduct a feasibility study of possible options to further increase the capacities to transport natural gas from Russia to the EU through the Baltic Sea. Over the next eight months, Nord Stream will make an assessment of various criteria of up to two potential additional pipelines, including technical solutions, route alternatives, environment and financing.
The feasibility study is intended to assist the Shareholders in evaluating possible solutions to meet the need for the EU to increase its imports of natural gas over the coming decades and to secure gas deliveries under existing contracts. The Shareholders will consider the findings of the feasibility study as the basis for further decisions.
The launch of the new feasibility study shows that Nord Stream’s Shareholders continue to explore ways to enhance the EU’s long-term energy security by providing reliable and competitive natural gas supplies and diversified transportation capacities.
The study will build on the 40 years experience of Russian gas supply to Europe and the experience gained from the successful implementation of the twin Nord Stream pipelines as well as the Shareholders’ own expertise in implementing and managing natural gas pipelines. The study will evaluate the potential for further infrastructure with an operating life of at least 50 years.
The rationale for considering additional infrastructure is twofold: further diversification of transportation routes is an integral part of enhanced security of supply, and the EU’s gas import requirements will continue to grow in the long term due to the economic and environmental advantages of natural gas and the decline of indigenous production in the North Sea.
Nord Stream AG is an international joint venture established for the planning, construction and subsequent operation of offshore gas pipelines through the Baltic Sea. Nord Stream’s five Shareholders are: Russian OAO Gazprom with a 51 per cent stake in the joint venture, the German companies BASF SE/Wintershall Holding GmbH and E.ON Ruhrgas AG each with 15.5 per cent, and the Dutch gas infrastructure company N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie and the French energy company GDF SUEZ S.A. each with 9 per cent stakes.
The first of Nord Stream’s two parallel pipelines became operational in November 2011. Each line is approximately 1,220 kilometres long and has a transport capacity of 27.5 bcm per year. Line 2 has already been laid and is undergoing pre-commissioning. When it goes on stream in late 2012, both lines together will provide a capacity of 55 bcm per year.
Source: Nord Stream, May 11, 2012