Permit of the European Commission on the gas pipeline OPAL connecting Nord Stream with Europe's gas transportation network might be obtained by the end of October, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on October 17, 2016.
«Now we are working on obtaining a permit of the European Commission. We expect that by the end of October 2016, such authorization will be received,» said Novak.
OPAL is a branch pipeline off the Nord Stream-1 that delivers Russian gas to Europe, bypassing transit countries.
The capacity of the pipeline is 35 billion cubic metres (1.2 trillion cubic feet) per year of natural gas. The pipeline cost around €1 billion.
The construction was completed in 2011 and in August 2011 Nord Stream was connected with the OPAL pipeline.
Gazprom previously asked the European Commission to exclude Opal from the Third Energy Package rules, fearing that Russian gas deliveries to Europe via Ukraine may be interrupted.
Gazprom has long fought an EU decision requiring it to auction gas in order to gain greater access to the pipeline, but talks on reaching a settlement collapsed in 2014 after Russia's "annexation" of Crimea region.
European restrictions permit Russia's Gazprom energy company only 50-55 % of the pipeline for Russian natural gas to be delivered across Germany to the Czech Republic
The increase in the Russian gas volume through OPAL holds key importance for the Nord Stream-2 construction project.
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