Nord Stream

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Nord Stream 1
Location of Nord Stream 1
Location of Nord Stream 1
Location
Country
  • Russia
  • Germany
Coordinates
General directioneast–west–south
FromVyborg, Russian Federation
Passes throughGulf of Finland and Baltic Sea
ToLubmin near Greifswald, Germany
General information
TypeNatural gas
Partners
OperatorNord Stream AG
Manufacturer of pipes
Installer of pipesSaipem
Pipe layerCastoro Sei
Contractors
Commissioned
  • 8 November 2011 (1st line)
  • 8 October 2012 (2nd line)
Technical information
Length1,222 km (759 mi)
Maximum discharge55 billion m3/a (1.9 trillion cu ft/a)
Diameter1,220 mm (48 in)
No. of compressor stations1
Compressor stationsPortovaya
Websitewww.nord-stream.com Edit this at Wikidata

Nord Stream (German-English mixed expression; German: Nord and English: Stream, literally 'North Stream'; Russian: Северный поток, Severny potok) is a pair of offshore natural gas pipelines in Europe that runs under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany. It comprises the Nord Stream 1 (NS1) pipeline running from Vyborg in northwestern Russia, near Finland, and the Nord Stream 2 (NS2) pipeline running from Ust-Luga in northwestern Russia near Estonia. Both pipelines run to Lubmin in the northeastern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Each pipeline comprises two pipes, denoted A and B, each of the four pipes being approximately 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) long and with approximate diameters of 1,220 millimetres (48 in). Total combined capacity of the four pipes is 110 million cubic metres per annum (3.9 billion cubic feet per annum) of natural gas.

The name "Nord Stream" occasionally refers to a wider pipeline network, including the feeding onshore pipeline in Russia, and further connections in Western Europe.[1]

The Nord Stream projects have been opposed by some Central and Eastern European countries, as well as the United States, due to concerns that the pipelines would increase Russia's influence in Europe, and the knock-on reduction of transit fees for use of the existing pipelines in Central and Eastern European countries.

On 26 September 2022, the NS1 and the NS2 pipelines experienced multiple large pressure drops to almost zero, attributed to as of yet three unexplained explosions at three locations in international waters,[clarification needed][2] rendering three of their four pipes inoperable.[3] The new Baltic Pipe to Poland via Denmark from the Europipe II pipeline between Norway and Germany opened the following day.[4]

History[edit]

Nord Stream opening ceremony on 8 November 2011 with Francois Fillon, Angela Merkel, Mark Rutte, Dmitry Medvedev, Günther Oettinger and Erwin Sellering

1997–present[edit]

Nord Stream gas flows[5]
* Russia cut the flow of natural gas by more than half in June because they alleged they could not get a part seized by the Canadian government because of sanctions. Siemens, the producer of the part, denied that this piece was critical for operations.[6]
* Russia halted gas flows July 11th for annual maintenance for 10 days and resumed partial operations in July 21st[7]
* Russia stopped the flow of natural gas on 31 August 2022 for alleged maintenance for 3 days, but later said they could not provide a timeframe for restarting gas flow. The EU accused Russia of fabricating a false story to justify the cut.[8]
X Pipeline was damaged, potentially by sabotage on 27 September 2022[9]

The pipeline project began in 1997 when Gazprom and Finnish oil company Neste (which merged in 1998 with Imatran Voima to form Fortum and in 2004 separated again into Fortum and Neste) formed the joint company North Transgas Oy for the construction and operation of a gas pipeline from Russia to Northern Germany across the Baltic Sea.[10] North Transgas cooperated with the German gas company Ruhrgas (which later became part of E.ON, which was later split into E.ON and Uniper). A route survey was done in the exclusive economic zones of Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany, and a feasibility study of the pipeline was conducted in 1998. Several routes were considered, including those with onshore segments through Finland and Sweden.[11]

On 24 April 2001, Gazprom, Fortum, Ruhrgas and Wintershall adopted a statement regarding a joint feasibility study for the construction of the pipeline.[12] On 18 November 2002, the Management Committee of Gazprom approved a schedule of project implementation. In May 2005, Fortum withdrew from the project and sold its stake in North Transgas to Gazprom. As a result, Gazprom became the only shareholder of North Transgas Oy.[10][13]

On 8 September 2005, Gazprom, BASF and E.ON signed a basic agreement on the construction of a North European Gas Pipeline. On 30 November 2005, the North European Gas Pipeline Company (later renamed Nord Stream AG, "Nord" is German for "North") was incorporated in Zug, Switzerland. On 9 December 2005, Gazprom started construction of the Russian onshore feeding pipeline (Gryazovets–Vyborg gas pipeline) in the town of Babayevo in Vologda Oblast.[14] The feeding pipeline was completed in 2010.

On 4 October 2006, the pipeline and the operating company were officially renamed Nord Stream AG.[15] After the establishment of Nord Stream AG, all information related to the pipeline project, including results of the seabed survey of 1998, was transferred from North Transgas to the new company, and on 2 November 2006, North Transgas was officially dissolved.[16]

The environmental impact assessment started on 16 November 2006 when notifications were sent to Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany, as parties of origin (the countries whose exclusive economic zones and/or territorial waters the pipeline is planned to pass through), and Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia as affected parties.[17] The final report on transboundary environmental impact assessment was delivered on 9 March 2009.[18]

The gas systems operated by Finland's Gasum are connected to Nord Stream via a branch pipeline in Karelia.[19][20]

On 19 March 2007, Nord Stream AG hired Italian company Snamprogetti, a subsidiary of Saipem, for detailed design engineering of the pipeline.[21] A letter of intent for construction works was signed with Saipem on 17 September 2007 and the contract was concluded on 24 June 2008.[22][23] On 25 September 2007, the pipe supply contracts were awarded to the pipe producers EUROPIPE and OMK, and on 18 February 2008, the concrete weight coating and logistics services agreement was awarded to EUPEC PipeCoatings S.A.[24][25] The supply contracts for the second line were awarded to OMK, Europipe and Sumitomo Heavy Industries on 22 January 2010.[26] On 30 December 2008 Rolls-Royce Holdings was awarded a contract to supply turbines for the compressor, and on 8 January 2009, Royal Boskalis Westminster and Danish Dredging Contractor Rohde Nielsen A/S. were awarded a joint venture seabed dredging contract.[27][28]

The agreement to take Gasunie to the consortium as the fourth partner, was signed on 6 November 2007.[29] On 10 June 2008, Gasunie was included in the register of shareholders.[30] On 1 March 2010, French energy company GDF Suez signed with Gazprom a memorandum of understanding to acquire 9% stake in the project.[31] The transaction was closed in July 2010.[32]

In August 2008, Nord Stream AG hired former Finnish prime minister Paavo Lipponen as a consultant to help speed up the application process in Finland and to serve as a link between Nord Stream and Finnish authorities.[33]

On 21 December 2007, Nord Stream AG submitted application documents to the Swedish government for the pipeline construction in the Swedish Exclusive Economic Zone.[34] On 12 February 2008, the Swedish government rejected the consortium's application, which it had found incomplete.[35][36] A new application was filed later. On 20 October 2009, Nord Stream received a construction permit to build the pipeline in the Danish waters.[37] On 5 November 2009, the Swedish and Finnish authorities gave a permit to lay the pipeline in their exclusive economic zones.[38] On 22 February 2010, the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland issued the final environmental permit allowing construction of the Finnish section of the pipeline.[39][40]

On 15 January 2010 construction of the Portovaya compressor station in Vyborg, near the Gulf of Finland, began. [41] [42] The first pipe of the pipeline was laid on 6 April 2010 in the Swedish exclusive economic zone by the Castoro Sei vessel. In addition to Castoro Sei, also Castoro 10 and Solitaire were contracted for pipe-laying works.[43] Construction of the pipeline was officially launched on 9 April 2010 at Portovaya Bay.[44]

The laying of the first pipe was completed on 4 May 2011, underwater work was completed on 21 June 2011 [45], in August 2011 it was connected with the OPAL pipeline, [46] and the first gas was pumped on 6 September 2011.[47] Construction of the second pipe was completed in August 2012 and it was inaugurated on 8 October 2012.[48]

The pipeline was officially inaugurated by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, French Prime Minister François Fillon, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on 8 November 2011 at the ceremony held in Lubmin.[49][50][51].

In November 2015, Nord Stream found a disabled underwater drone with a small amount of explosives on the pipeline near Öland, and requested the Swedish Navy to remove it.[52][53]

Although the nominal capacity of the pipeline is 55 billion cubic metres per annum (1.9 trillion cubic feet per annum), it transported 59.2 billion cubic metres (2.09 trillion cubic feet) in 2021.[54]

On 25 July 2022, Gazprom announced it will reduce gas flows to Germany to 20% of the maximum capacity, or 50% of the current throughput. The company shut down the pipeline for 10 days because of maintenance and claims the current reduction is due to a repair on a turbine in Montréal, Canada, that could not be delivered because of sanctions against Russia. The German government denied this claim and believed there was no reason for reducing the flow. Putin meanwhile during a press conference in Tehran said that these flows could be increased again if Russia receives more turbines from the manufacturer.[55]

On 31 August 2022, Gazprom halted any gas delivery through North Stream 1 for three days, officially because of maintenance.[56] On 2 September 2022, the company announced that natural gas supplies via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline would remain shut off indefinitely until the main gas turbine at the Portovaya compressor station near St Petersburg was fixed from an engine oil leak.[57] Gazprom justified this claiming that European Union sanctions against Russia have resulted in technical problems preventing it being able to provide the full volume of contracted gas through the pipeline; Siemens Energy, which maintains the turbine, rejected this and stated that there are no legal obstacles to its provision of maintenance for the pipeline.[57]

2022 gas leaks[edit]

On 26 September 2022, multiple ruptures in the NS1 and the NS2 pipelines were detected in what appears to be an act of sabotage. Unexplained large pressure drops were reported in both pipelines at the end-station in Germany. A gas leak from NS2 was located late on 26 September. Early on 27 September, two separate leaks in NS1 were discovered. They occurred at international waters, but within the Danish and Swedish economic zones.[58] Both Berliner Zeitung and Le Monde newspapers questioned if it is sabotage, and a Kremlin spokesman said it could be. Neither pipeline was in operation at the time of these incidents, but do contain gas.[59][60]

The rupturing of the Nord Stream pipelines happened as the Baltic Pipe was being opened for natural gas to come in from the North Sea through Denmark to Poland.[61][62][63] As of 29 September 2022, the Yamal–Europe pipeline is operational, although there are concerns Russia "introduces sanctions against Ukraine's Naftogaz [...] that could prohibit Gazprom from paying Ukraine transit fees [... that] could end Russian gas flows to Europe via the country."[64][65][66][67]

Technical features[edit]

Russian onshore-pipeline[edit]

Nord Stream is fed by the Gryazovets–Vyborg gas pipeline. It is a part of the integrated gas transport network of Russia that connects the existing grid in Gryazovets with the coastal compressor station at Vyborg.[68] The length of the pipeline is 917 km (570 mi), the diameter of the pipe is 1,420 mm (56 in), and its working pressure is 100 atm (10 MPa), which is secured by six compressor stations. The Gryazovets-Vyborg pipeline, parallel to the branch of the Northern Lights pipeline (Gryazovets–Leningrad and Leningrad–Vyborg–Russian-state-border pipelines), also supplies gas to the Northwestern region of Russia (which includes Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast).[1] The pipeline is operated by Gazprom Transgaz Saint Petersburg.[1]

Baltic Sea offshore pipeline[edit]

A piece of Nord Stream pipe on public display in Kotka, Finland
The semi-submersible pipe-laying vessel Castoro Sei operating for Nord Stream in the Baltic Sea south-east of Gotland, Sweden in late March 2011
Two pipes are welded together on the Castoro Sei pipelaying vessel

The Nord Stream offshore pipeline is operated by Nord Stream AG.[17][29] It runs from the Vyborg compressor station at Portovaya Bay along the bottom of the Baltic Sea to Greifswald, Germany. The length of the subsea pipeline is 1,222 km (759 mi), of which 1.5 km (0.93 mi) are on Russian inland, 121.8 km (65.8 nmi) in Russian territorial waters, 1.4 km (0.8 nmi) in the Russian economic zone, 375.3 km (202.6 nmi) in the Finnish economic zone, 506.4 km (273.4 nmi) in the Swedish economic zone, 87.7 km (47.4 nmi) in the Danish territorial waters, 49.4 km (26.7 nmi) in the Danish economic zone, 31.2 km (16.8 nmi) in the German economic zone, 49.9 km (26.9 nmi) in German territorial waters and 0.5 km (0.31 mi) on German inland.[69] The pipeline has two parallel lines, both with capacity of 27.5 billion m3 (970 billion cu ft) of natural gas per year.[70] Pipes have a diameter of 1,220 mm (48 in), a wall thickness of 26.8 to 41 mm (other specification 38 mm (1.50 in)) and a working pressure of 220 bar (22 MPa; 3,200 psi).[17]

Middle and Western European pipelines[edit]

Nord Stream is connected to two transmission pipelines in Germany. The southern pipeline (OPAL pipeline) runs from Greifswald to Olbernhau near the German-Czech border. It connects Nord Stream with JAGAL (connected to the Yamal-Europe pipeline), and STEGAL (connected to the Russian gas transport route via Czechia and Slovakia) transmission pipelines. The Gazelle pipeline, put into operation in January 2013,[71] links the OPAL pipeline with South-German gas network.

The western pipeline (NEL pipeline) runs from Greifswald to Achim, where it is connected with the Rehden-Hamburg gas pipeline.[72] Together with the MIDAL pipeline it creates the Greifswald–Bunde connection. Further gas delivery to the United Kingdom is made through the connection between Bunde and Den Helder, and from there through the offshore interconnector Balgzand–Bacton (BBL Pipeline).

Supply sources[edit]

Countries by natural gas proven reserves (2014), based on data from The World Factbook. Russia has the world's largest reserves.

Russia's West Siberian petroleum basin is the source location for Nord Stream. The Yuzhno-Russkoye field, which is located in the Krasnoselkupsky District, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Tyumen Oblast, was designated as the main source of natural gas for the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.[73][74][75] Nord Stream 1 and 2 are also fed from fields in the Yamal Peninsula, Ob and Taz bays. It was predicted that also the majority of gas from the Russian Off-Shore Arctic Gas Field Shtokman field would be sold to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline when it comes on stream and the connecting pipeline via Kola peninsula to Volkhov or Vyborg is built.[76] However, the Shtokman project was postponed indefinitely.

The proposed gas route from Russia's West Siberian petroleum basin to China is known as the Power of Siberia 2 pipeline.[77] For Russia, the pipeline allows another economic partnership in the face of resistance to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.[78]

Costs and financing[edit]

According to Gazprom, the costs of the onshore pipelines in Russia and Germany were around €6 billion.[79] The offshore section of the project cost €8.8 billion.[80] Thirty percent of the financing was raised through equity provided by shareholders in proportion to their stakes in the project, while 70 percent was obtained from external financing by banks.[81]

There were two tranches of fundraising.[82][83] The first tranche, totaling €3.9 billion, includes a €3.1 billion, 16-year facility covered by export credit agencies and an €800 million, 10-year uncovered commercial loan to be serviced by earnings from the transportation contracts. A further €1.6 billion is covered by French credit insurance company Euler Hermes, €1 billion by German loan guarantee program UFK, and €500 million by Italian export credit agency SACE SpA. Crédit Agricole is the documentation bank and bank facility agent. Société Générale is intercreditor agent, Sace facility agent, security trustee and model bank. Commerzbank is the Hermes facility agent, UniCredit is the UFK facility agent, Deutsche Bank is the account bank, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation is the technical and environmental bank.[81][82] The financial advisers were Société Générale, Royal Bank of Scotland (ABN Amro), Dresdner Kleinwort (Commerzbank), and Unicredit.[84][85] The legal adviser to Nord Stream was White & Case, and legal adviser for the lenders was Clifford Chance.[82]

Contractors[edit]

The environmental impact assessment of Nord Stream 1 was carried out by Rambøll and Environmental Resource Management. The route and seabed surveys were conducted by Marin Mätteknik, IfAÖ, PeterGaz and DOF Subsea.[86][87]

Work preliminary front-end engineering was done by Intec Engineering.[88] The design engineering of the subsea pipeline was done by Snamprogetti (now part of Saipem) and the pipeline was constructed by Saipem.[21][23] Saipem subcontracted Allseas to lay more than 14 of both the pipelines. The seabed was prepared for the laying of the pipeline by a joint venture of Royal Boskalis Westminster and Tideway.[28] The pipes were provided by EUROPIPE, OMK, and Sumitomo.[24][26] Concrete weight coating and logistics services were provided by EUPEC PipeCoatings S.A. For the concrete weight coating new coating plants were constructed in Mukran (Germany) and Kotka (Finland).[25] Rolls-Royce plc supplied eight aeroderivative gas turbines driving centrifugal compressors for front-end gas boosting at the Vyborg (Portovaya) gas compressor station.[27] Dresser-Rand Group supplied DATUM compressors and Siirtec Nigi SPA provided a gas treatment unit for the Portovaya station.[89][90]

For the construction period, Nord Stream AG created a logistic center in Gotland. Other interim stockyards are located in Mukran, Kotka, Hanko (Finland), and Karlskrona (Sweden).[25]

Project companies[edit]

Nord Stream 1 office building in Zug

Nord Stream 1 is operated by the special-purpose company Nord Stream AG, incorporated in Zug, Switzerland on 30 November 2005. Shareholders of the company are the Russian gas company Gazprom (51% of shares), the German companies Wintershall Dea and PEG Infrastruktur AG (E.ON) (both 15.5%), the Dutch gas company Gasunie (9%), and the French gas company Engie (9%).[17][29] The chairman of the shareholders' committee is German ex-chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

Transportation contracts[edit]

On 13 October 2005, Gazprom signed a contract with German gas company Wingas, then a joint venture of Gazprom and Wintershall (a subsidiary of BASF), to supply 9 billion cubic metres (320 billion cubic feet) of natural gas per year for 25 years.[91] On 16 June 2006, Gazprom and Danish Ørsted A/S (then named DONG Energy) signed a twenty-year contract for delivery of 1 billion m3 (35 billion cu ft) Russian gas per year to Denmark, while Ørsted will supply 600 million m3 (21 billion cu ft) natural gas per year to the Gazprom subsidiary, Gazprom Marketing and Trading, in the United Kingdom.[92] On 1 October 2009, the companies signed a contract to double the delivery to Denmark.[93]

On 29 August 2006, Gazprom and E.ON Ruhrgas signed an agreement to extend current contracts on natural gas supplies and have signed a contract for an additional 4 billion m3 (140 billion cu ft) per year through the Nord Stream pipeline.[94] On 19 December 2006, Gazprom and Gaz de France (now GDF Suez) agreed to an additional 2.5 billion m3 (88 billion cu ft) gas supply through Nord Stream.[95]

Controversies[edit]

The pipeline projects were criticized by some countries, geopolitical analysts, and environmental organizations (such as the World Wide Fund for Nature).[96][97][98][99][100]

Political aspects[edit]

Major existing and planned natural gas pipelines supplying Russian gas to Europe

Opponents have seen the pipeline as a move by Russia to bypass traditional transit countries (currently Ukraine, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Belarus and Poland).[101] Some transit countries are concerned that a long-term plan of the Kremlin is to attempt to exert political influence on them by threatening their gas supply without affecting supplies to Western Europe.[102][103] The fears are strengthened by the fact that Russia has refused to ratify the Energy Charter Treaty. Critics of Nord Stream say that Europe has become dangerously dependent on Russian natural gas, particularly since Russia could face problems meeting a surge in domestic as well as foreign demand.[104][105][106] In 2021, 45% of Europe's gas imports came from Russia.[107] Following several Russia–Ukraine gas disputes over gas prices, as well as foreign policy toward Eastern Europe, it has been noted that the gas supplies by Russia can be used as a political tool.[108]

A Swedish Defense Research Agency study, finished in March 2007, counted over 55 incidents[clarification needed][vague] since 1991, most with "both political and economic underpinnings".[105][106] In April 2006, Radosław Sikorski, then Poland's defense minister, compared the project to the infamous 1939 Nazi-Soviet Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.[109] In his book The New Cold War: Putin's Russia and the Threat to the West, published in 2008, Edward Lucas stated that "though Nord Stream's backers insist that the project is business pure and simple, this would be easier to believe if it were more transparent."[105] In the report published by the Fridtjof Nansen Institute in 2008, Norwegian researcher Bendik Solum Whist noted that Nord Stream AG was incorporated in Switzerland, "whose strict banking secrecy laws makes the project less transparent than it would have been if based within the EU".[105] Secondly, the Russian energy sector "in general lacks transparency" and Gazprom "is no exception".[105]

The Russian response has been that the pipeline increases Europe's energy security and that the criticism is caused by bitterness about the loss of significant transit revenues, as well as the loss of political influence that stems from the transit countries' ability to hold Russian gas supplies to Western Europe hostage to their local political agendas.[110] It would reduce Russia's dependence on the transit countries as for the first time it would link Russia directly to Western Europe.[104] According to Gazprom, the direct connection to Germany would decrease risks in the gas transit zones, including the political risk of cutting off Russian gas exports to Western Europe.[111]

In response to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Commission and International Energy Agency presented joint plans to reduce reliance on Russian energy, reduce Russian gas imports by two thirds within a year, and completely by 2030.[112][107] On 18 May 2022, the European Union published plans to end its reliance on Russian oil, natural gas and coal by 2027.[113]

Security and military aspects[edit]

Swedish military experts and several politicians, including former Minister for Defense Mikael Odenberg, have stated that the pipeline may cause a security policy problem for Sweden.[114] According to Odenberg, the pipeline motivates the Russian navy's presence in the Swedish economic zone and the Russians can use this for military intelligence should they want to.[115] Finnish military scholar Alpo Juntunen has said that even though the political discussion over Nord Stream in Finland concentrates on the various ecological aspects, there are clearly military implications to the pipeline that are not discussed openly in Finland.[116] More political concerns were raised when Vladimir Putin stated that the ecological safety of the pipeline project will be ensured by using the Baltic Fleet of the Russian Navy.[117] German weekly Stern has reported that the fibre optic cable and repeater stations along the pipeline could theoretically also be used for espionage. Nord Stream AG asserted that a fibre-optic control cable was neither necessary nor technically planned.[118]

Deputy Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Gazprom Alexander Medvedev has dismissed these concerns, stating that "some objections are put forward that are laughable – political, military, or linked to spying. That is really surprising because in the modern world… it is laughable to say a gas-pipeline is a weapon in a spy-war".[119]

Economic aspects[edit]

Russian and German officials have claimed that the pipeline leads to economic savings due to the elimination of transit fees (as transit countries would be bypassed), and a higher operating pressure of the offshore pipeline which leads to lower operating costs (by eliminating the necessity for expensive midway compressor stations).[120] According to Ukrtransgaz in 2011, Ukraine alone will lose natural gas transit fees of up to $720 million per year from Nord Stream 1.[121] According to the Naftogaz chairman in 2019, Ukraine will lose $3 billion per year of natural gas transit fees from Nord Stream 2.[122] Gazprom has stated that it will divert 20 billion m3 (710 billion cu ft) of natural gas transported through Ukraine to Nord Stream.[123] Opponents say that the maintenance costs of a submarine pipeline are higher than for an overland route. In 1998, former Gazprom chairman Rem Vyakhirev claimed that the project was economically unfeasible.[124]

As the Nord Stream pipeline crosses the waterway to Polish ports in Szczecin and Świnoujście, there were concerns that it will reduce the depth of the waterway leading to the ports.[125][126][127] However, in 2011, the then-prime minister of Poland Donald Tusk, as well as several experts, confirmed that the Nord Stream pipeline does not block the development plans of Świnoujście and Szczecin ports.[127][128]

Environmental aspects[edit]

The greatest environmental impact in connection with the pipeline results from the consumption of the transported gas, if it allows more imports to the EU. That would conflict with decarbonization efforts for climate protection. At a nominal capacity of 55 billion m3/a (1.9 trillion cu ft/a), each pipe pair can cause carbon emissions of 110 million tonnes (240 billion pounds) of CO2 annually.[129]

For the Portovaya compressor station at the Russian beginning of Nord Stream 1 with a rating of 366 megawatts, CO2 emissions of around 1.5 million tonnes (3.3 billion pounds) per annum are estimated,[130] not including compressor stations for the gas pipelines within Russia.

Since the pressure loss is the square of the flow velocity, dividing an unchanged gas transport volume between two Nord Stream systems could save around 34 of the pumping effort and presumably more than 1 million tonnes (2.2 billion pounds) of CO2 emissions could be avoided annually. Using the discounted CO2 damage costs of €180 per tonne (€0.082/lb) from the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt),[131] this would, after a rough estimate,[by whom?][citation needed] enable the third tube to be amortized within around 20 years from a global point of view. Possibly also the fourth tube could be amortized in the hypothetical case of overall optimization of gas flow over various pipelines between Russia and the EU.

The production of over 2 million tonnes (4.4 billion pounds) of steel for the Nord Stream 2 tubes resulted in more than 3 million tonnes (6.6 billion pounds) of CO2 emissions, not including the concrete-coating and the associated pipeline sections onshore.[citation needed]

Before construction there were concerns that during construction the sea bed would be disturbed, dislodging World War II-era naval mines and toxic materials including mines, chemical waste, chemical munitions and other items dumped in the Baltic Sea in the past decades, and thereby toxic substances could surface from the seabed, damaging the Baltics' particularly sensitive ecosystem.[132][133][134][135][136] Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren demanded that the environmental analysis should include alternative ways of taking the pipeline across the Baltic, as the pipeline is projected to be passing through areas considered environmentally problematic and risky.[137] Sweden's three opposition parties called for an examination of the possibility of rerouting the pipeline onto dry land.[135] Finnish environmental groups campaigned to consider the more southern route, claiming that the sea bed is flatter and so construction would be more straightforward, and therefore potentially less disruptive to waste, including dioxins and dioxin-like compounds, littered on the sea bed.[138] Latvian president Valdis Zatlers said that Nord Stream was environmentally hazardous as, unlike the North Sea, there is no such water circulation in the Baltic Sea.[citation needed] Ene Ergma, Speaker of the Parliament of Estonia (Estonian: Riigikogu), warned that the pipeline work rips a canal in the seabed which will demand leveling the sand that lies along the way, atomizing volcanic formations and disposing of fill along the bottom of the sea, altering sea currents.[139]

The impact on bird and marine life in the Baltic Sea is also a concern, as the Baltic sea is recognized by the International Maritime Organization as a particularly sensitive sea area. The World Wide Fund for Nature requested that countries party to the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM) safeguard the Baltic marine habitats, which could be altered by the implementation of the Nord Stream project.[99] Its Finnish branch said it might file a court case against Nord Stream AG if the company did not properly assess a potential alternative route on the southern side of Hogland. According to Nord Stream AG, this was not a suitable route for the pipeline because of the planned conservation area near Hogland, subsea cables, and a main shipping route.[98] Russian environmental organizations warned that the ecosystem in the Eastern part of the Gulf of Finland is the most vulnerable part of the Baltic Sea and assumed damage to the island territory of the planned Ingermanland nature preserve as a result of laying the pipeline.[139] Swedish environmental groups are concerned that the pipeline is planned to pass too closely to the border of the marine reserve near Gotland.[140] Greenpeace is also concerned that the pipeline would pass through several sites designated as marine conservation areas.[141]

In April 2007, the Young Conservative League (YCL) of Lithuania started an online petition entitled "Protect the Baltic Sea While It's Still Not Too Late!", translated into all state languages of the countries of the Baltic region.[142] On 29 January 2008 the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament organized a public hearing on the petition introduced by the leader of YCL – Radvile Morkunaite. On 8 July 2008, the European Parliament endorsed, by 542 votes to 60, a non-binding report calling on the European Commission to evaluate the additional impact on the Baltic Sea caused by the Nord Stream project.[143] The Riigikogu made a declaration on 27 October 2009, expressing "concern over the possible environmental impacts of the gas line" and emphasizing that international conventions have deemed "the Baltic Sea in an especially vulnerable environmental status".[100]

Russian officials described these concerns as far-fetched and politically motivated by opponents of the project. They argued that during the construction the seabed will be cleaned, rather than endangered. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has claimed that Russia fully respects the desire to provide for the 100% environmental sustainability of the project and that Russia is fully supportive of such an approach, and that all environmental concerns would be addressed in the process of environmental impact assessment.[144]

Concerns were raised, since originally Nord Stream AG planned on rinsing out the pipeline with 2.3 billion litres (610 million US gallons) of a solution containing glutaraldehyde, which would be pumped afterward into the Baltic Sea. Nord Stream AG responded that glutaraldehyde would not be used, and even if the chemical were used, the effects would be brief and localized due to the speed with which the chemical breaks down once it comes in contact with water.[145]

One of the problems raised was that the Baltic Sea and particularly Gulf of Finland was heavily mined during World War I and II, with many mines still in the sea.[141] According to Marin Mätteknik, around 85,000 mines were laid during the First and Second World Wars, of which only half have been recovered. A lot of munitions have also been dumped in this sea.[146] Critics of the pipeline voiced fears that the pipeline would disturb ammunition dumps. In November 2008 it was reported that the pipeline will run through old sea mine defense lines and that the Gulf of Finland is considered one of the most heavily mined sea areas in the world.[147] Sunken mines, which have been found on the pipeline route, lay primarily in international waters at a depth of more than 70 m (230 ft). Nord Stream AG detonated the mines underwater.[147]

Ethical issues[edit]

The former Chancellor of Germany, Gerhard Schröder, and the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, were strong advocates of the pipeline project during the negotiation phase. International media alluded to a past relationship between the managing director of Nord Stream AG, Matthias Warnig, himself a former East German secret police officer, and Vladimir Putin when he was a KGB agent in East Germany.[148][149][150][151] These allegations were denied by Matthias Warnig, who said that he had met Vladimir Putin for the first time in his life in 1991, when Putin was the head of the Committee for External Relations of the Saint Petersburg Mayor's Office.[151][152]

The agreement to build the pipeline was signed ten days before the German parliamentary election. On 24 October 2005, a few weeks before Schröder had stepped down as Chancellor, the German government guaranteed to cover €1 billion of the Nord Stream project cost, should Gazprom default on a loan. However, this guarantee expired at the end of 2006 without ever having been needed.[153] Soon after leaving the post of Chancellor of Germany, Gerhard Schröder agreed to head the shareholders' committee of Nord Stream AG. This has been widely described by German and international media as a conflict of interest,[154][155][156] the implication being that the pipeline project may have been pushed through for personal gain rather than for improving gas supplies to Germany. Information about the German government's guarantee was requested by the European Commission. No formal charges have been filed against any party despite years of exhaustive investigations.[153]

In February 2009, the Swedish prosecutor's office started an investigation based on suspicions of bribery and corruption after a college on the island of Gotland received a donation from Nord Stream. The 5 million Swedish kronor (US$574,000) donation was directed to a professor at Gotland University College who had previously warned that the Nord Stream pipeline would come too close to a sensitive bird zone.[157] The consortium has hired several former high-ranking officials, such as Ulrica Schenström, former undersecretary at the Swedish Prime Minister's office, and Dan Svanell, former press secretary for several politicians in the Swedish Social Democratic Party.[158] In addition, the former Prime Minister of Finland, Paavo Lipponen, had worked for Nord Stream as an adviser since 2008.[159]

Land-based alternatives[edit]

On 11 January 2007, the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Finland made a statement on the environmental impact assessment program of the Russia-Germany natural gas pipeline, in which it mentioned that alternative routes via Latvia, Lithuania, Kaliningrad and/or Poland might theoretically be shorter than the route across the Baltic Sea, would be easier to flexibly increase the capacity of the pipeline, and might have better financial results.[160] There were also calls from Sweden to consider rerouting the pipeline onto dry land.[135] Poland had proposed the construction of a second line of the Yamal–Europe pipeline, as well as the Amber pipeline through Latvia, Lithuania and Poland as land-based alternatives to the offshore pipeline. The Amber project foresees laying a natural gas pipeline across the Tver, Novgorod and Pskov oblasts in Russia and then through Latvia and Lithuania to Poland, where it would be re-connected to the Yamal–Europe pipeline.[11] Latvia has proposed using its underground gas storage facilities if the onshore route were to be used.[citation needed] Proponents have claimed that the Amber pipeline would cost half as much as an underwater pipeline, would be shorter, and would have less environmental impact.[161] Critics of this proposal say that in this case it would be more expensive for the suppliers over the long-term perspective, because the main aim of the project is to reduce transit costs.[162] Nord Stream AG has responded that the Baltic Sea would be the only route for the pipeline and it will not consider an overland alternative.[163]

World War II graves[edit]

In May 2008, a former member of the European Parliament from Estonia, Andres Tarand, has raised the issue that the Nord Stream pipeline could disturb World War II graves dating from naval battles in 1941. A Nord Stream spokesman has stated that only one sunken ship is in the vicinity of the planned pipeline and added that it would not be disturbed.[164] On 16 July 2008 it was announced that one of DOF Subsea's seismic vessels had discovered during a survey for the planned Nord Stream pipeline, in Finland's exclusive economic zone in the Gulf of Finland, the wreck of a submarine with Soviet markings, believed to have sunk during World War II.[86]

In addition to the wreck of the Soviet submarine, there are sunken ships on the route of Nord Stream in the Bay of Greifswald and in the Gulf of Finland. The ship in the Bay of Greifswald is one of 20 sunk in 1715 by the Swedish navy to create a physical barrier across the shallow entrance to the Bay of Greifswald coastal lagoon.[165] Russian archaeologists claimed that the ship in the Gulf of Finland "was probably built in 1710 and sank during a raid aimed at conquering Finland" in 1713 during the reign of Peter the Great.[166]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]