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Nord Stream pipeline link might be delayed by up to a year

22 Jul 2011 16:19:08 | esgm

Germany's Norddeutsche Erdgasleitung (NEL), a link to the newly built Nord Stream pipeline between Germany and Russia, might be delayed by up to a year to the end of 2013, the main shareholder E.ON Ruhrgas told ICIS Heren on Friday.

Last month, Germany's higher administrative court in Lüneburg in Lower Saxony has ordered a temporary halt to the construction of the pipeline because of security concerns, saying the pipeline was being laid too close to a residential area (see ESGM 1 July 2011).

The court called on the project partners and the regional authority to work out new construction plans.

E.ON Ruhrgas, which holds a 70% share in NEL, said that it was still evaluating the situation, but added that the whole project could possibly be significantly delayed.

If the entire permission and construction process needs to be repeated, it will take at least an additional nine months, delaying the project by up to a year, according to the company.

NEL has a capacity of 20 billion cubic metres (20Gm³)/year and was originally scheduled to be commissioned in October 2012, at the same time when the first 27.5Gm³/year Nord Stream pipeline is expected to start flowing gas from Russia to Germany (see ESGM 21 April 2011). The two-line Nord Stream pipeline is designed to transport 55Gm³ of Russian gas each year to Europe via the Baltic Sea.

The NEL link will run from the point where Nord Stream beaches at Lubmin, near Greifswald, to Rehden in Lower Saxony, stretching more than 440km past Schwerin and Hamburg. E.ON's project partners are Dutch transmission system operator Gasunie, which owns a 20% share in the joint venture, and the German-based Wintershall-Gazprom subsidiary WINGAS, with 10%. JR

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