Baltic Sea pipeline: first tube of Nord Stream 2 filled

Status: October 18, 2021 12:36 p.m.

The prerequisites for the start of Nord Stream 2 are in place. The first tube of the Baltic Sea pipeline was filled with gas. It remains to be seen when it will actually go into operation and when the first gas will be delivered.

The first strand of Nord Stream 2 is ready for operation. This was announced by the operator of the Baltic Sea pipeline in Zug in Switzerland. According to the company, the first line was filled with technical gas for two weeks. This created the prerequisites “to start gas transport at a later point in time,” explained the operator.

However, it is still unclear when exactly the first gas from Russia will come through the pipeline to Germany and thus possibly ease gas prices. The pipeline has been completed, but approval from the German authorities is still pending: The Federal Network Agency is currently examining the application for certification.

Start of the second strand in preparation

The first tube had to be filled with 177 million cubic meters of technical gas to be ready for operation so that the pressure in it could be built up and then maintained. The technical gas acts as a placeholder. Once the permit is in place, the start of transporting natural gas from Russia could be quick. The operators had previously carried out numerous tests on the tube. According to Nord Stream 2, the technical preparations for the commissioning of the second line are currently underway. Details will be given at a later date.

The operator of the pipeline, a subsidiary of the Russian energy company Gazprom, plans to deliver more than five billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe this year, according to NDR. The line in which the technical gas has now been fed in will probably be used first. A total of around 55 billion cubic meters of gas are to be delivered annually from Russia through the pipeline to Germany, with which 26 million households can be supplied. This would double Russian gas deliveries to Germany.

Controversial project

The Baltic Sea pipeline connects Russia with Germany. Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that the start of gas supplies could ease the situation on the gas market. He’s putting pressure on the pipeline to go into operation quickly.

Critics accuse the project of being able to be used by Russia as a geopolitical instrument because it would make it less dependent on Ukraine as a transit country. Work on the pipeline was completed in September. Previously, after years of dispute, the USA and Germany had reached an agreement on commissioning.

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