The 1,224-kilometer North Stream pipeline, starting at Russia's northwestern town of Vyborg, is to make its first gas deliveries to Germany's terminus near the town of Greifswald next week, according to German press reports.
The 7.4-billion-euro pipeline which runs from Russia's Arctic gas fields, under the Baltic Sea to Europe via Germany, will be inaugurated on Tuesday in a special ceremony in the northern easter German town of Lubmin.
The opening festivities will be attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian
President Dmitry Medvedev, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte.
Russian gas sent via the North Stream pipeline will primarily go to consumers in Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Gazprom is the majority shareholder in the company operating North Stream, while minority shareholders are Germany's Wintershall and Ruhrgas, Dutch company N. V. Nederlandse and France's GDF Suez.
Russia supplies about a quarter of the natural gas consumed in Europe.
Gas needs in Europe are expected to surge 50 percent in the next decade to
200 billion cubic meters per year.
North Stream will account for 55 billion cubic meters once its capacity doubles by 2013.
Russia's overall exports to Germany reached 31.8 billion euros last year, of which gas and oil accounted for about 70 percent.