Nord Stream is considering construction of new undersea gas pipelines
The new pipelines would run from Russia to Europe along the bed of the Baltic Sea
The international natural gas infrastructure consortium Nord Stream is to conduct a feasibility study on possible options to further increase its capacity to transport natural gas from Russia to Europe through the Baltic Sea, according to a recent press release.
Over the next eight months, Nord Stream will make an assessment of varous criteria of up to two potential additional pipelines, including technical solutions, route alternatives, environment questions, and financing.
Doubling the capacity would turn the Baltic Sea into Russia’s most significant energy supply route to Europe. The present capacity is up to 55 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year.
Minna Sundelin, an information officer at Nord Stream, reports that the new feasibility study was started at the request of three Nord Stream shareholders, namely the Russian Gazprom, as well as the German companies BASF Wintershall Holding and E.ON Ruhrgas.
Professor Pami Aalto, an expert in Russian energy policy from the University of Tampere, believes that Russia is seeking a replacement for the massive Brotherhood natural gas pipeline that connects Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia, and Western Europe.
The capacity of the Brotherhood gas pipeline is about double compared with that of Nord Stream, but the pipeline is already old.
The fact that the pipeline runs through Ukraine and Slovakia has been hindering its repairs and use.
The Nord Stream pipeline cost a total of EUR 7.4 billion, being the largest energy project in Europe over the past few decades.
The launch of the project prompted a wide debate in the Baltic Sea states, and in part even some resistance. In Finland, discussions on the pipeline focused only on environmental questions.
Eija Lehtonen, head of the Environmental Impact Unit at the Uusimaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment says that normally the expansion of a project will lead to a relaunch of environmental impact evaluation and other permit processes needed for the venture.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Nord Stream says laying of undersea pipeline has little environmental impact (11.10.2011)
Russia is already pumping gas into Nord Stream pipeline (7.9.2011)
Nord Stream completing Finnish part of Russian-German gas pipeline project (8.8.2011)
Nord Stream to begin construction of Baltic Sea gas pipeline in Finnish territorial waters next week (17.6.2010)
Parliament debates problems of gas pipeline (9.10.2009)
Nord Stream (Wikipedia)
Nord Stream press release 10.5.2012