Russian President Vladimir Putin
Portovaya compressor station, Leningrad region - Alexei Miller, the CEO of Russian gas giant Gazprom, has said that the Nord Stream gas pipeline reaching its full throughput capacity of 55 billion cubic meters (bcm) is a present for Russian President Vladimir Putin on his birthday.
"I see symbolic meaning for the Russian president's birthday. This is a type of present to the originator of the idea [Putin]," Miller said during a ceremony marking the launch of the gas pipeline's second line.
The idea of building the offshore gas pipeline bypassing transit countries was brought up in a phone conversation with Putin during a time of difficulties with transiting gas through Ukraine, Miller said.
Head of the presidential administration Sergei Ivanov said that a lot of time had been put into securing permission to build the pipeline.
"The president indeed held a lot of talks with our European partners and agreed on business matters," he said.
Nord Stream, which runs along the bottom of the Baltic Sea from Vyborg, Russia to Greifswald, Germany, passes through the exclusive economic zones of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany, as well as through the territorial waters of Russia, Denmark and Germany.
In order to get the green light to build from each country whose waters and/or exclusive economic zones the pipeline would cross, Nord Stream, the pipeline's operator, conducted a comprehensive environmental impact assessment.
The company has already participated in international consultations with all of the countries bordering the Baltic Sea, including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, which were given the opportunity to study the potential environmental impact of the project.