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15

Gazprom, BASF, E.On Launched Sensational Pipeline Project

This is a fundamentally different project, because the Russian gas will reach Germany bypassing transit countries

Russia's natural gas monopoly Gazprom began official construction of the 1,217 kilometer North european Gas Pipeline, that will deliver Russian gas to Germany and other European nations via the Baltic Sea.

This is a fundamentally different project, because the Russian gas will reach Germany bypassing transit countries such as Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltic states for the first time. The pipeline will link the Russian port of Vyborg and the town of Greifswald in north-eastern Germany.
The pipeline is due to become fully operational by 2010. The project will cost 4 million euro.

The ceremony of welding of the first pipes' connection was attended by Russia?s Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, Germany?s Economy Minister Michael Glos, and Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller.

The North European Gas Pipeline has already stirred a lot of controversy in transit countries, such as Poland, Ukraine, Latvia and Lithuania. The two former claim that the pipeline may disturb the burial of chemical weapons of thw World War II, trying to prevent Gazprom?s project from starting.

Ukraine worries that it will eventually be cut off from Russia?s gas supplies. Poland has called the pipeline plan a ?conspiracy? against its interests.

Gazprom has signed a partnership for the project with Germany?s BASF and E.ON. The Russian giant holds 51 % of shares, and German firms each have 24.5 %.

Gazprom has said that it may take a third partner into the project, thus reducing the stakes of BASF and E.ON. It plans to make the final decision on the candidate by April 2006.