BERLIN, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- The first leg of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea is 70 percent completed, a pipeline manager for Germany announced.
Georg Nowack, the Nord Stream consortium's project manager in Germany, said 528 miles of the 760-mile natural gas pipeline has been put down on the floor of the Baltic Sea, Russian news agency ITAR-Tass reports.
Russian energy company Gazprom is leading the project consortium building the dual gas pipeline from the Gulf of Finland through the Baltic Sea to Germany. The project is meant to diversify Gazprom's export options as about 80 percent of all Russian gas for Europe travels through Ukraine currently.
Matthias Warnig, the managing director of the Nord Stream consortium said last month that the first branch of the pipeline was on schedule to deliver gas to Europe by late 2011.
Construction on the Nord Stream pipeline started in April and it will pass through economic zones in Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.
The cost of the pipeline is around $10 billion. Once both lines are completed, which is expected in 2012, it will be the most advanced and environmentally friendly of major pipelines for the European community, the consortium said.