Connecting the EU and Russia
The Nord Stream Pipeline through the Baltic Sea is the most direct connection between the vast gas reserves in Russia and energy markets in the European Union. Years of studies have brought Nord Stream to the conclusion that the offshore pipeline project represents one of the safest, most economical, and most environmentally friendly ways to increase gas supplies to Europe. In fact, in 2006 the European Parliament and Council designated the Nord Stream Pipeline as being of "European interest". This status is given to projects that strengthen markets and reinforce security of supply.
Building the pipelines was a major feat of engineering. Because they pass through the waters of five countries, and could affect others, an extensive permitting and consultation process took place. An important part of this process focused on the environment and the procedures developed to investigate and mitigate all potential impacts. All permits to begin construction were received by February 2010, and construction of Line 1 began in April 2010, and was completed in June 2011. Gas transport through Line 1 began in November 2011. It has the capacity to deliver up to 27.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas a year. Line 2 was completed in September 2012 and began transporting gas in October 2012.
The twin pipelines have the capacity to transport a combined total of about 55 bcm of gas a year – that`s enough to satisfy the energy demand of more than 26 million European households. Nord Stream has designed the pipelines to operate for at least 50 years.