The German Ruhrgas concern has confirmed its readiness to become an equal partner with Gazprom in constructing the North European Gas Pipeline. According to Gazprom's press office, the joint working group set up by Gazprom and Ruhrgas held its first meeting in Moscow on Friday, February 28. The two sides discussed the future consortium's structure with regard to the dynamics and development peculiarities of European gas markets.
The construction project envisages the pipeline being laid along the Baltic Sea floor to Europe, with undersea taps being constructed to supply gas to the Kaliningrad Region, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark. The project is also intended to supply gas to the UK. The pipeline will directly connect Russia's gas transportation system with the European gas network. Initially the pipeline will be supplied by the Nadym-Pur-Tazovsky field (in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District), and in the future by the Ob-Taz Bay field (in the Yamal area) and the Shtokmanovsky field. Natural gas supplies are planned to begin in 2007, with full capacity being reached in 2009. The total cost of the project is approximately USD 6 billion. By the end of 2003 the construction project will have met all the necessary criteria, including environmental criteria, for work to begin. Construction work is planned to start in 2005.