Ready for new gas: Prime Minister Rutte at opening of Nord Stream

Groningen/Lubmin | press release

The new Nord Stream gas pipeline was officially opened today in the North German town of Lubmin. German Chancellor Merkel, Russian President Medvedev, Dutch Prime Minister Rutte, French Prime Minister Fillon and European Commissioner Oettinger attended the opening. The Netherlands has a 9% share in this project through the 100% state-owned Gasunie, which develops and operates gas infrastructure in the Netherlands and in Europe. Nord Stream is a 1,224 km pipeline that runs across the Baltic sea floor from Vyborg in Russia to the landfall at Lubmin. A second parallel pipeline is under construction. Once this is brought into operation in 2012, Nord Stream will be able to supply 55 billion m³ per year, enough gas for around 26 million households.

Heads of State and CEO's of countries and companies involved in Nord Stream symbolically open together the new pipeline. Amongst them Rutte, Merkel and Medvedev. On the right Gasunie CEO Paul van Gelder. Heads of State and CEO's of countries and companies involved in Nord Stream symbolically open together the new pipeline. Amongst them Rutte, Merkel and Medvedev. On the right Gasunie CEO Paul van Gelder.

Nord Stream is connected to the European gas network. From Lubmin gas can be transported onwards in a southerly and easterly direction. Nord Stream gas will soon also be supplied to the German Gasunie grid via NEL (Nordeuropäische Erdgasleitung, in which Gasunie has a 20% holding). It can then be transported further to markets in and around the Netherlands and Denmark through the cross-border Gasunie transmission system.

Contribution to energy security
Nord Stream gives Europe direct access to the vast Russian gas resources and thus contributes to European security of supply. The project has European TEN-E priority status.
The other shareholders in Nord Stream are the Russian Gazprom (51%), the German companies BASF/Wintershall and E.ON Ruhrgas (15.5% each) and the French GDF SUEZ (9%). Prime Minister Rutte said: ‘Joining forces in energy pays off. Today this has become clear once again. On behalf of the Netherlands I am proud that, through Gasunie, my country contributes substantially to this.’

On time and within budget
Paul van Gelder, CEO and chairman of Gasunie’s Executive Board: 'The Nord Stream organisation has managed to complete one of the worlds biggest gas infrastructure projects on time and within budget and that is a tremendous achievement. It is a complex project, both technically and due to the international permit aspects. We at Gasunie are proud to have taken an active part in it in the interests of the Netherlands. It is a wonderful example of international cooperation. We are demonstrating the strengths of the Netherlands as the country of gas.'

Private financing
Nord Stream required investment of 7.4 billion euro. There was overwhelming interest in the project from the financial markets. This illustrates how much confidence the markets have in the soundness of this project and in the growth of the gas market. Twenty-six international banks provided 70% of the project finance and the remaining 30% was provided by the shareholders. No taxpayers' money was used in financing the project.

Gas essential in sustainable energy mix
Gas will play a crucial role in the European energy mix of the future, as it is necessary to help us to achieve our climate targets. Burning natural gas produces half as much CO2 as burning coal and there are plenty of stocks worldwide. Furthermore, its flexibility in use makes it ideal to compensate for the intermittency of supply from solar and wind energy. This means that it can facilitate an increase in green energy, while guaranteeing the stability of the energy supply as a whole. This is one of the reasons why Denmark, which aims to expand its wind power, welcomes the supply of gas via Nord Stream, through the German Gasunie grid. A sufficient supply of gas is very important to other European countries too though, certainly now that other sources of power are coming under pressure in many countries, including Germany.

Germany's Head of State Angela Merkel and Gasunie CEO exchange greetings. Germany's Head of State Angela Merkel and Gasunie CEO exchange greetings.

More information: press@gasunie.nl

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