The Dutch natural gas transportation and infrastructure firm Nederlandse Gasunie have voiced concerns about the quality of natural gas being delivered by Gazprom.
The Dutch company has demanded that Gazprom provide a product through the Nord Stream pipeline containing an oxygen content no higher than 10 parts per million (ppm) on delivery, a source close to Gazprom told Vedomosti. The firm acknowledges that there will be exceptions, but hopes that they won't amount to more than five instances in a year.
Nederlandse Gasunie is concerned that the high oxygen content of Gazprom natural gas is accelerating the corrosion of the underground storage and transport equipment that moves gas throughout the Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain. Russian technical standards allow for up to 200ppm of oxygen in natural gas.
A representative of the European Energy Commissioner said that while there is no uniform European standard for gas quality, most gas companies apply the standard of the European Association for the Optimization of Energy Exchange, which is 10 ppm.
Sberbank analyst Valery Nesterov told Vedomosti though that he does not foresee any major problems arising. "Gas is different in different countries, and bringing it to the same standard is only possible up to a certain degree" he said, pointing out that Gazprom delivers gas to the standard specified in its current contracts. He also speculated that this issue may be used by Europeans to ask for a further discount on Russian gas.