Nord Stream secures 2.5 bln euro bank commitment
A group of companies led by Gazprom said Thursday that it had secured a 2.5-billion-euro (3.3-billion-dollar) commitment from 24 banks to expand a pipeline for shipping Russian natural gas to Germany.
The Nord Stream AG consortium said the so-called "commitment letters" would be signed next month to finance the second phase of the project -- construction of a second pipeline running under the Baltic Sea.
"This is an important milestone for us to reach before the end of 2010 and we are delighted with the response we have had from the project finance market," Nord Stream Financial Director Paul Corcoran said in a statement.
The first pipeline is due to be commissioned next year and the second in 2012.
The 7.4-billion-euro project to build the 1,220-kilometre (760-mile) pipeline is led by Russian state-run energy giant Gazprom in partnership with Germany's E.On Ruhrgas and BASF-Wintershall.
The project is also joined by the Dutch Nederlandse Gasunie NV company and France's GDF Suez SA.
Gazrpom estimates that Europe will need an additional 200 billion cubic metres of gas per year by 2030, and that Nord Stream will be able to meet about 25 percent of that supply.
© 2010 AFP