Background European Gas Pipelines

Description of selected pipeline projects

Nord Stream

The Nord Stream pipeline transports Russian gas from the Yamal Peninsula and the Shtokman gas field in the Barents Sea to Europe through the Baltic Sea. The pipeline is not passing through transit countries, and is thus a direct link between Russia and Western Europe. The Baltic coastal states initially had concerns regarding the construction and arranged inspections of safety and environmental issues. The course of the Baltic pipeline. Since 2011, first gas flows to Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. The first pipeline with a length of about 1,220 kilometres went on stream in late 2011. All pipes were already laid for the second pipeline section. It is scheduled to transport gas to Europe from the end of 2012. The Baltic Sea pipeline project is backed by a consortium. Fifty-one percent of the shares are held by Russian gas monopolist Gazprom, and 15.5 percent each by E.ON Ruhrgas and BASF subsidiary Wintershall, respectively. Dutch company Gasunie and the French company GDF SUEZ hold another nine percent each. Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is the chairman of the board of the Nord Stream consortium.

Each of the two pipelines will transport 27.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually. The pipeline has thus a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year. According to the operator, it thus allows supplying 26 million households in the EU. In addition to Germany, customers will include Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain and France. The construction costs are estimated at €7.4 billion.


The OPAL (“Ostsee-Pipeline Anbindungsleitung”/Baltic Sea Connection Pipeline) is a pipeline (DN 1400) for transporting natural gas from Lubmin in northeastern Mecklenburg-Vorpommern to Olbernhau in Southern Saxony. It connects the Baltic Sea pipeline with the Czech Republic. In Olbernhau, or Sayda, there are connections to the Transgas pipeline “Nordlicht/Northern Lights”, which comes from the Ukraine and the Czech Republic, and to the STEGAL pipeline to Saxony and Thuringia, which in turn has links to MIDAL and JAGAL. OPAL is one of three pipelines, which connect the Nord Stream gas pipeline to the existing European gas pipeline network in Germany. The other two include NEL which runs into the direction of Hamburg and the planned NORDALOPAL ending in the north of Berlin.

NET4GAS European piplines

NET4GAS graphic: GAZELLE as part of the European pipelines



The MEGAL (“Mittel-Europäische-Gasleitung”/Central European Gas Pipeline) is part of the European long-distance gas network system in southern Germany. This natural gas pipeline network consists of two lines, including the MEGAL North and MEGAL South which converge through a connection line in Rothenstadt. MEGAL was built in 1980. It is owned and operated by Essen, Germany-based MEGAL Mittel-Europäische-Gasleitungsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG. This company is part of the Open Grid Europe (formerly “E.ON Gastransport” and GRTgaz Germany (formerly Gaz de France, Germany Transport). Import points comprise the adjacent network operator RWE Transgas Net in Waidhaus and the OMV network with the West-Austria gas pipeline in Oberkappel. Export locations are at Medelsheim to GRTgaz and Oberkappel. Interconnection points with national networks are located in Gernsheim with the SETG and to the TENP line and the Remich pipelines (Luxembourg) in Mittelbrunn and Rimpar to the Ruhr area, respectively

South Stream

South Stream is a planned Russian-Italian natural gas pipeline, which will be running on the sea bottom of the Black Sea and will supply Europe with Russian gas from the eastern Black Sea region. Beginning in Bulgaria, South Stream will be continued with one line each to Italy and Austria. After overall completion, the transmission capacity will be 47 billion cubic meters per year. Partners of the joint venture include Gazprom and Italian energy company Eni. The cost is estimated at €19-24 billion.


South Stream is to diversify the supply routes of Russian gas to Europe and to reduce the dependence of both producer and consumer countries on the currently dominant transit countries Ukraine and Belarus (see Russian-Ukrainian gas dispute). South Stream is considered as a rival project to the planned Nabucco pipeline, which is meant to circumvent Russian territory coming from the Caspian Sea area. South Stream is backed by Gazprom – which is the largest shareholder with a 50 percent stake holding – Italian energy group ENI (20 percent), French EDF and German BASF subsidiary Wintershall (15 percent). The total capacity after overall completion is projected to be 63 billion cubic metres per year. It is scheduled to go on stream in late 2015/early 2016. Total costs are estimated to be in a range from €8-25 billion. Beginning in Beregowaja, the Blue Stream route already runs to Turkey.


The Nabucco pipeline project envisages the construction of a natural gas pipeline, starting in Turkey and ending in Baumgarten an der March, Austria, where OMV’s central distribution center for natural gas is located. It is planned to connect the EU with Caspian natural gas – possibly also with Iranian, Egyptian and Iraqi – and thus to open up access to new gas resources for Europe. According to the EU programme Trans-European Networks, the pipeline is one of the five most important projects in the development of the European energy supply network. Originally, the pipeline was planned to start in eastern Turkey, but its range was reduced several times, and the Turkish-Bulgarian border will now serve as starting location. The Nabucco West pipeline is designed to supply gas to Austria from the Bulgarian-Turkish border whilst bypassing Russia. It will run through Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. The gas will originate from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. However, usage for supply from the Middle East is also being considered. The pipeline is projected to have a capacity of 31 billion cubic metres per year. Russia has taken a critical stance on the project and has even negotiated with the countries in order to supply gas via the South Stream pipeline. The pipeline is expected to cost around €15 billion, which is planned to be covered by one-third through the operating consortium itself, and by two-thirds with loans. The start of construction was delayed several times and is currently scheduled for 2013. The first stage is scheduled to be completed in 2017.

Further information:

List of natural gas pipelines (


About NET4GAS:

NET4GAS is a reliable, strong and secure long-distance gas pipeline network operator who guarantees domestic and foreign partners availability of the transport capacity they need. All gas distributors are guaranteed non-discriminatory access to the gas transport system. NET4GAS s.r.o transports natural gas in the Czech Republic using a pipeline network that is 3,642 kilometres in length.

Contact for press:

Milan Řepka
Company Spokesman
T: +420 220 225 427
M: +420 739 537 461