Construction of Nord Stream gas pipeline begins in Russia
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday attended a ceremony near the Finnish border to celebrate the beginning of construction work on the Nord Stream gas pipeline, DPA reported.
The 7.4-billion-euro (9.9 billion dollars) pipeline will from 2011 transport Russian gas to Europe, which the European Union hopes will help to ensure the bloc's future energy security.
Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, chairman of Nord Stream's board, also took part in the ceremony at Portovaya Bay.
Nord Stream said that the first three kilometers of the pipeline, which will eventually stretch 1,220 kilometres under the Baltic Sea to Greifswald in northern Germany, had already been laid near the Swedish island of Gotland.
Three specially commissioned ships will be responsible for laying the pipeline. The Castoro 6 is already on the job and in June will be joined by the Castoro 10, which will be based off the coast of Germany. In September the Solitaire will start work in the Gulf of Finland.
If all goes to plan, the pipeline will transport 27.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Capacity will double in the following year when a second leg of the pipeline is due to be laid.
The gas should be enough to power an estimated 26 million households.