Holmes Report 10 Jul 2012 // 11:00PM GMT
Nord Stream is a natural gas pipeline system that will link Russia and the European Union through the Baltic Sea. In November 2012, with construction of the first of the twin pipelines completed, everything stood ready for delivery of Russian gas to Europe. This was a truly remarkable milestone for the Nord Stream project and a benchmark worthy of celebrating.
Expectations of political stakeholders were extremely high – as Nord Stream is the only major new European pipeline project to be realised both on time and on budget. No other new pipeline is expected to be operating before 2015. Furthermore, Nord Stream’s high political profile necessitated the invitation of high-ranking European guests to an event aimed at contributing to the reputation of the company, which has made a vital contribution to Europe’s energy security.
On the day the Nord Stream Pipeline was officially put into operation, the “Arrival of Gas” event was held in proximity to the remote location where the pipeline reaches land in Lubmin, Germany. It is at this location that the gas transported through Nord Stream flows into connecting pipelines. Heads of government and other political and business leaders symbolically “opened the tap” to mark the first flow of gas.Nord Stream (along with leading agency TRIAD Berlin Projektgesellschaft mbH) had to develop a thoroughly convincing and creative event with the highest of standards –set “in the middle of nowhere”.
With this event, Nord Stream aimed to:
• Underline the value of the gas delivery for European consumers
• Create high awareness for the occasion
• Underline the importance of Nord Stream for providing secure energy supply to Europe, and its importance in the energy partnership between Europe and Russia
• Showcase Nord Stream as a truly transboundary European project and as one of the most important international infrastructure projects
• Deliver extensive information about the project
From the onset, Nord Stream faced the following challenges in organising the event: A benchmark project such as Nord Stream had to be celebrated as such.
The event for the start of construction of the pipeline held in 2010 at Portovaya Bay (near
Wyborg, Russia) was a hugely successful event. Therefore, the celebration of the first flow of gas through the pipeline in 2011 had to be even more impressive and creative. The event plan had to be so convincing as to persuade high-ranking European politicians and the media to travel to the remote location of Lubmin.
All preparations, planning and implementation had to consider “G 4” conditions (due to attendance of at least four high-ranking European politicians).
Complete event infrastructure had to be erected at Nord Stream’s German landfall at
In a nutshell: Only a solid event concept would convince heads of government and state to participate, and their attendance was key to creating the media resonance Nord Stream wished to achieve.
Nord Stream created an event with a compelling core idea / story line, underscored by a
“catchy” claim, “The Arrival” and key visuals, including a film and the symbolic opening of the “tap”.
Nord Stream planned the construction of an unique temporary tent city in Lubmin, Germany.
From the very beginning, high requirements on logistics and security efforts necessary for the protection of high-ranking individuals were considered.
Core idea and story line: The event showed the vision of the Nord Stream project – from the initial concept to planning to realisation. The audience was able to see the “journey” of the gas from Russia to the EU in a specially developed film, and was witness to the arrival of gas (Find out more in attached presentation, slide 5).
Claim and key visual: “The Arrival” was a simple and catchy claim for what could be witnessed at the event. Additionally, the methane gas molecule formed a key visual throughout the design, architecture, and event logo.
Construction: The construction of the tent structure was designed to mirror a methane gas molecule. The high-quality dome-shaped tents offered space for a welcome area, a “ceremonial dome”, VIP-facilities, press area and functional facilities such as kitchen; wardrobes, etc. (See more impressions and photos of the dome city on attached discs). Flow of events: The flow of event offered a fascinating experience to the guests while taking the tight time management of high-ranking guests into consideration (Find out more in attached presentation, slide 10). A reception in Berlin on the eve of the event (combined with a Nord Stream photo exhibition) worked as an appropriate kick-off for the event.
Creativity: A creative atmosphere informed the audience on the Nord Stream project in a highly entertaining way. The highlight was a 360-degree projection of a film created specifically for the occasion onto the dome within the main ceremonial tent. Of note: The projection on the main screen on stage was also connected to the projection on the domed ceiling. (Watch the movie on attached USB-stick).
Administration: Early and detailed planning, and close cooperation with institutions such as the German Federal Office of Criminal Investigation, Federal Police, etc. was undertaken to ensure the safety of guests.
The huge success of the event (qualitative and quantitative) spoke for itself:
More than 400 international, high-ranking guests attended – we were proud to welcome Angela Merkel (German Chancellor), Dmitry Medvedev (President of the Russian Federation), Jean-Francois Fillon (Prime Minister of France), Mark Rutte (Prime Minister of the Netherlands), Günther Oettinger (European Commissioner for Energy) and many, many more…(Find out more in attached presentation, slide 14 & 15).
Guests were welcomed with high-end catering in a tent-city, realised at the bay of Lubmin. An emotional and technically superior entertainment programme provided an appropriate framework for the festive speeches.
Ideal “politics meets business” platform, and ideal platform as knowledge pool and for management discussions.
Smooth flow of events, despite huge security requirements.
Media results: 1,528 news articles, wires stories and news features surrounded the event, 1,820 online articles monitored during the same time. 220 TV features and 130 radio reports surrounding the event broadcasted in the key countries (November 4-10). All three major German news networks (Phoenix, n-tv and N24) broadcasted live from Lubmin.