The Nord Stream Project - Logistics Challenge Baltic Sea
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Ludwig von Müller
Ludwig von Müller
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Nord Stream is a natural gas pipeline that will link Russia and the European Union via the Baltic Sea. Gas imports by the European Union, 336 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2005, are projected to grow by 200 bcm to 536 per year in 2015 (Source: Global Insight, 2007).

Connecting the world’s biggest gas reserves with the European gas pipeline network, Nord Stream will meet about 25 per cent of that additional requirement. The project will be an important contribution to long-term security of supply and the energy partnership between the European Union and Russia.

Nord Stream AG plans to have the first of two parallel pipelines operational in the spring of 2011. Each line is approximately 1,220 kilometres long, providing a transport capacity of some 27.5 bcm per annum. Full capacity of about 55 bcm a year will be reached in the second phase, when operation of the second line starts.

From all pipeline projects providing Europe with natural gas in future Nord Stream is the most advanced one. The project is on track. All major supply agreements are concluded for the first pipeline.

Nord Stream prepared a comprehensive Logistics Concept for implementing the pipeline project. To ensure the Nord Stream pipeline is laid in the most efficient manner possible – in terms of costs, timing and to protect the environment – a customised logistics infrastructure in the Baltic Sea region comprising weight coating plants, interim stock yards and trans-shipment facilities is required. As Nord Stream is the largest gas-pipeline project ever and the first pipeline to be implemented in the Baltic Sea region, a tailor made logistics infrastructure needed to be developed.

With the aim of minimising transport distances, Nord Stream has assessed potential logistics locations along the Baltic Sea coast that are technically feasible and environmentally viable. The logistics centres for the Nord Stream pipeline project represent major investments in these locations that will have a strong and positive impact on their regional development, boosting local business and employment.

Nord Stream AG is an international joint venture established for the planning, construction and subsequent operation of the new offshore gas pipeline. Gazprom holds a 51 per cent stake in the joint venture. BASF/Wintershall and E.ON Ruhrgas hold 20 per cent each. Dutch gas infrastructure company N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie is holding another 9 per cent stake.