Europe will get first Nord Stream gas in Oct-Nov: Putin

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Europe will start receiving Russian natural gas via the Nord Stream pipeline being constructed under the Baltic in October or November, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.

"The maritime part will be finished on May 15th. Thankfully there were no problems," Putin told a press conference during a visit to Denmark.

"In July the gas will be put into the pipeline and in October-November our European customers will get gas," he assured.

He said that "thankfully" there had been no problems from submerged debris left over from World War II at the bottom of the Baltic Sea "or economic problems".

According to the fixed schedule the first gas should reach Europe in October, with a second pipeline due to start pumping by the end of 2012.

The eventual planned capacity is 55 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year through the twin pipeline.

The 7.4-billion-euro (10.1-billion-dollar) project to build the 1,220-kilometre (760-mile) pipeline to deliver Russian natural gas through to Germany is led by Russian state-run energy giant Gazprom in partnership with Germany's E.On Ruhrgas and BASF-Wintershall.

Along the way the pipeline will travel through Finland, Sweden and Denmark.

It is hoped that the pipeline will avoid a repetition of supply problems in recent years when bilateral rows, notably between Russia and Ukraine, have affected delivery of Russian gas to Europe.

Gazprom controls a fourth of the world's gas reserves and is responsible for about eight percent of Russia's gross domestic product. It provides a quarter of all the gas consumed by Europe.

© 2011 AFP

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