Gasunie and Gazprom look to partner on Nord Stream pipeline
The companies met in July to discuss collaborating on the Nord Stream pipeline
Dutch infrastructure company Gasunie may join in the further expansion of the Nord Stream gas pipeline. During a meeting in Moscow in early July, its chief executive Han Fennema met his counterpart at Gazprom, Alexei Miller, and they discussed matters of security of gas supply to the European market, and cooperation in development of new gas infrastructure. This would help to secure a stable and affordable energy supply for Europe which Gasunie told Petroleum Economist would include the possibility of joining Nord Stream.
Gazprom has also said that German chemicals giant BASF is also a possible new partner for the existing prospective partners in the project expansions: OMV, Shell and E.ON, although so far this plan to add another 55bn cubic metres per year (cm/y) capacity is only an MoU. The route and shareholdings are still to be decided, with Ust Luga, southwest of St Petersburg, also a possible starting point. The existing two lines totalling 55bn cm/y start near the Finnish border, at Vyborg. However owing to a capacity use ruling in the European Union, Nord Stream is not able to run at full.
Gasunie is also looking at working with Gazprom on developing a small-scale LNG bunker and trucking business in northwest Europe. The two executives signed a framework agreement that would cover the storage, shipping and selling of LNG as a bunker and vehicle fuel as well as an energy source for gasification at sites that are not on the grid. A network of filling stations is also a possibility. There is already much unused capacity at the Gate terminal, which Gasunie owns, but has pre-sold. It told PE that the companies were looking at the Baltic Sea “in the first instance.”
This will make it possible to diversify the supply routes as well as broaden the use of natural gas in European countries, said Miller. “LNG has a clear role to play as a cleaner fuel alternative for maritime vessels, ferries, trucks and industrial applications throughout Europe. It supports European Union environmental priorities. It will help ship and truck owners to follow stringent European emission regulations,” said Fennema.