MOSCOW, Sep 6 (PRIME) — Russia started pumping technical gas through the first line of the Nord Stream gas pipeline at the Portovaya compressor station in the Leningrad Region on Tuesday, RIA Novosti reported following a ceremony devoted to the start.
Nord Streams first line is expected to be ready to pump commercial gas by the beginning of October, when its launch is slated. The first line has an annual throughput capacity of 27.5 billion cubic meters of gas.
Speaking about gas transit, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who attended the ceremony, said that Ukraine is to lose its exclusive position in the transportation of Russian gas to Europe with the launch of Nord Stream.
The Nord Stream project encompasses the construction of a 1,200-kilometer pipeline that is to carry Russian natural gas under the Baltic Sea to Germany. The Nord Stream projects annual capacity is planned at 55 billion cubic meters of gas as its two lines are launched. The second line is planned to be launched in SeptemberNovember 2012.
The coast and underwater parts of the first line of the Nord Stream gas pipeline project were welded together on August 19.
At present, Gazprom holds 51.0% in the Nord Stream project, while Germanys BASF SE/Wintershall Holding GmbH and E.ON Ruhrgas each hold 15.5%, and N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie and Frances GDF Suez each hold 9.0%.