Gazprom head Alexei Miller confirmed on Friday the Russian energy giant's plans to begin construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline's undersea section in April and start pumping gas in 2011.
"In April we plan to start the construction of the sea section. Construction will start from the Russian direction, from the Leningrad Region," Miller told journalists.
The Nord Stream pipeline, which will pump gas from Siberia to Europe under the Baltic Sea, bypassing East European transit countries, will be 1,220 kilometers (760 miles) long.
It will pass through the waters of five countries, all of whom have approved the project, although one permit is still required from Finland. It is expected to be issued this month.
The pipeline will consist of two parallel lines. The first, with capacity of around 27.5 billion cubic meters a year, is due for completion in 2011. The second line is due to be completed in 2012, doubling annual capacity to around 55 billion cubic meters.
It is being built jointly by Gazprom, Germany's E.ON Ruhrgas and BASF-Wintershall, and Dutch gas transportation firm Gasunie at an estimated cost of $12 billion.
Gazprom has already signed long-term contracts to supply gas through Nord Stream to customers in several EU countries including Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom, Nord Stream AG said on its website earlier.
News source: RIA Novosti
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