Russian gas giant Gazprom says it pumped a record volume of natural gas through the Nord Stream pipeline on New Year's Day.
The 160.75 million cubic meters of gas that transited through the pipeline on January 1 exceeded the pipeline's design capacity, demonstrating that an additional pipeline is needed, the company said on January 2.
"The northern route of Russian gas supplies is much-in-demand by the European market," Gazprom CEO Aleksei Miller said. "The fact proves once more that construction of the Nord Stream-2 is important and topical. Consumers are voting in favor of this route."
Miller said the existing pipeline was loaded over 100 percent at the end of last year as a result of the European Commission's decision to allow Gazprom to use 90 percent of the Opal pipeline, which ships Nord Stream's gas to end-users.
Previously, Gazprom could use only half of Opal's capacity.
During 2015, the existing pipeline was loaded at 70 percent capacity.
The Nord Stream-2 pipeline, which will stretch from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea, is scheduled for commissioning in 2019, but the project has run into opposition from Ukraine and European countries that question increasing reliance on Russian gas.
Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax