Nord Stream pipeline gets go ahead

The Nord Stream consortium has received the last of the permits required to start constructing a 1,223km natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea.

The Finnish ’Water Permit’ complements an earlier permit granted by the Finnish government for the Nord Stream consortium to use Finnish waters.

The consortium has already received all the permits required by the four other countries through whose territorial waters or Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) the pipeline will pass: Russia, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.

The Regional Administrative Agency for Southern Finland (former Western Finland Permit Authority) approved Nord Stream’s detailed plans to construct, operate and maintain its gas pipeline along a 374km route through Finland’s EEZ.

The Nord Stream consortium plans to start constructing the first pipeline in April 2010 and to start transporting gas in late 2011. When completed in 2012, Nord Stream’s twin pipelines will be able to transport 55bn cubic metres (bcm) of gas a year from Russia to Germany, where it will join the European energy grid.

Gazprom holds a 51 per cent stake in the consortium, and BASF SE/Wintershall Holding and E.ON Ruhrgas hold 20 per cent each, while Gasunie has a nine per cent share.

Gazprom has already signed long-term contracts to supply over 20bcm of gas a year through Nord Stream to customers in several EU countries, including Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, France and the UK.