Russia to launch Nord Stream November 8: Gazprom

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Russia's new Nord Stream pipeline under the Baltic Sea will supply its first natural gas to Western Europe on November 8, Gazprom chief Alexei Miller said on Monday.

"It will happen on November 8," Miller told Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in comments released by the Russian government.

Russia loaded the first technical gas into the link to Germany last month and aims to use the pipeline to reduce its dependence on Ukraine and other transit nations with which it has pricing disputes.

Nord Stream will become operational just as the European Union re-examines its dependence on Russia -- currently supplier of more than a quarter of Europe's gas -- as its most important source of energy.

But Miller said Gazprom was pushing ahead with plans to complete a second Nord Steam line running parallel to the first that will double the link's total capacity.

"We have already built 700 kilometres (435 miles) -- this is about 60 percent," Miller said.

© 2011 AFP

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