The operator of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is supposed to pump Russian gas to Europe, announced Monday that the filling process has begun, after its construction was delayed due to diplomatic tensions with Moscow.
“The process of introducing gas into the first network of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has begun,” said a statement from the company that operates the 1,230-kilometer pipeline under the Baltic Sea.
According to the company, “this network will be gradually mobilized to reach the required stock as a precondition for subsequent technical testing.”
Prior to this filling process, the gas pipeline’s first network had undergone a “pre-service” test; To ensure safety, the source said.
Nord Stream 2’s operator added that the gas pipeline was “independently constructed and licensed in accordance with approved technical and industry standards, to ensure the reliability and safety of its operation.”
Russia announced in early September the completion of this ten billion euro project, which its opponents in Europe and the United States say will increase Europe’s dependence on Moscow.
The pipeline’s purpose is to double Russian gas shipments to Germany by bypassing Ukraine, which was once a traditional transit point.
Ukraine has been embroiled in conflict with Moscow since 2014.
The construction of this gas pipeline was completed at a time when gas prices in Europe have risen to record levels with low stocks for the winter.
Gazprom is leading the project, which is funded by five European energy groups: OMV, ENGIE, Wintershall DEA, Uniper and Shell.
The route of this pipeline, which can pump 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year, is the same as Nord Stream 1, which was commissioned in 2012.