ZUG, Switzerland, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Work on the second string of the Nord Stream pipeline started and the leg could be carrying Russian natural gas by next year, the project consortium announced.
Russia aims to diversify its European transit options through Nord Stream. The dual pipeline will run through the Baltic Sea to Germany.
The project consortium announced from Switzerland that construction was on track, noting more than 600 miles of Line 1 had been laid in the Baltic Sea. Line 2 construction has also begun.
"Gas deliveries from Line 1 will begin before the end of 2011 and Line 2 will be launched in 2012," said Nord Stream Managing Director Matthias Warnig in a statement.
The company added that all aspects of the project were proceeding as planned.
Construction on the Nord Stream pipeline started in April and it will pass through economic zones in Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.
Environmental groups complained the dual pipeline would have negative consequences, though the consortium said its models indicate subsea work wouldn't create environmental problems.
The cost of the pipeline is around $10 billion. Once both lines are completed, it will be the most advanced and environmentally friendly of major pipelines for the European community, the consortium said.