ZUG, Switzerland, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Natural gas from Russian could start flowing to Germany through the Nord Stream pipeline through the Baltic Sea as early as October, an official said.
The consortium, led by Russian energy company Gazprom, said in early September that it started the four-week process of filling the first leg of Nord Stream with so-called buffer gas.
Gazprom already has gas delivery contracts with downstream governments. Officials at the Nord Stream consortium said natural gas should start flowing to the German market by late October or early November, the Voice of Russia reports.
The second line of the twin natural gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea is expected online in late 2012.
Nord Stream is part of Russia's efforts to add diversity to its export options for Europe. Spats between Kiev and Moscow make the conventional route through Ukraine politically risky.
Alexei Khaitun, an economist at the Institute of Europe's Center of Energy Policy, told Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti that because of the cost associated with shipping and building gas pipelines underwater, the Ukrainian route "is still the most efficient way of gas transportation."