NORD STREAM'S RECORD
The Nord Stream consortium announced on January 21 that it has recorded a record volume of deliveries through the pipeline in 2015 with a total of 39.1bn m3 delivered through the pipeline last year. The figure is an increase on the previous record set in 2014 of 35.5bn m3.
The Nord Stream pipeline, a twin pipeline system that began flowing in November 2011, has a total annual capacity of 55bn m3. The pipeline has yet to reach its total capacity but is increasing volume of delivery year on year. The 2015 delivery amount constitutes 71% of the pipeline's total capacity. The pipeline capacity had increased further as recently as December, when the Nord Stream consortium reports it hit an average load of 77.9% of capacity.
The Nord Stream pipeline currently transports gas from pipeline operator Gazprom, which holds a 51% stake in the pipeline, to several western European countries. Countries who receive deliveries from the pipeline include Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, France, and Denmark.
An expansion to the Nord Stream pipeline is being planned and discussed by Gazprom and the other Nord Stream stakeholders. The pipeline extension, which is planned to bypass Ukraine, has courted controversy since it was first announced, with critics saying it contravenes competition aims and undermines diversification attempts.
However, head of regulatory affairs for Gazprom Marketing & Trading, Alex Barnes, also said on January 21 that use of the pipeline was the choice of those who requested deliveries from it, not an obligation.
"Just because I've built a pipeline, that doesn't mean that you have to buy my gas," he said at a conference in Vienna. "The idea that that somehow it's undermining diversification of sources is just not true."
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