Celebrations to mark the beginning of construction of Nord Stream gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea were held today at the Portovaya compressor station near Vyborg, Leningrad Oblast.

The event was attended by President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev, EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, Nord Stream AG Shareholders’ Committee Chairman Gerhard Schroeder, Gazprom Management Committee Chairman Alexey Miller, Wintershall Holding GmbH Chief Executive Dr. Rainer Seele, E.ON Ruhrgas AG Chairman Bernhard Reutersberg and Gasunie Executive Board Chairman and CEO Marcel Kramer. German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the assembly via video link.

In the presence of President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev and representatives of the countries participating in the project the gas transportation systems of Russia and Europe were symbolically welded together.

"I am sure that connecting the gas pipeline systems of Russia and Europe is a fundamentally new approach to ensuring the continent's energy security. The Nord Stream pipeline will not only ensure the highest reliability of supply, but will also make it possible to continue to meet Europe's growing demand for natural gas. Our collaboration with major European energy companies on the Nord Stream project will no doubt become a model of international cooperation for other large-scale gas transmission projects," said Alexey Miller.

"There is a decisive reason for the E.ON Ruhrgas commitment to Nord Stream: Germany and Europe need the pipeline as an element of a diversified transmission infrastructure so that deliveries from Russia can be placed on a broad foundation. Nord Stream will create a direct link between gas fields in Russia and sales markets in Western Europe and will be able to provide transmission capacity for a significant part of the additional gas import needs anticipated by the EU," said Bernhard Reutersberg.

"Natural gas is the climate-friendly energy source of the 21st century. Nord Stream represents another major supply route for bringing clean gas to Europe, supplementing other sources in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East," said Dr. Rainer Seele.

"Nord Stream adds to and diversifies Europe's energy supply routes and thus contributes to future energy security. Customers all over Europe are increasingly aware of the role that gas has to play if we are to have a more sustainable future energy balance. Because of Nord Stream, we can now count on greater long-term continuity in gas supply," said Marcel Kramer.

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