Route planning

As direct and bundled as possible

There are essentially two principles for planning a natural gas pipeline: It must be as direct and straight as possible and bundled with other pipelines. A direct route is the best option, not only from the economic perspective, but above all from the environmental viewpoint. Bundling a new pipeline in an existing corridor is rightly a key principle in regional planning so as to protect the landscape from disorderly planning. That means EUGAL should be built as parallel as possible to the OPAL pipeline or other lines (power lines or underground transport pipelines). 

Preferred route and route variants

The goal is to minimize the pipeline’s impact on people and the environment. In this regard, GASCADE can leverage valuable experience and findings from the OPAL project. Besides that, issues relating to regional planning and concerns of the municipalities, as well as on environmental aspects, along the entire route corridor are currently being gathered, examined and assessed. The preferred route and also possible variants will then be crystallized from that. It is not until the approval procedure that the actual route is defined in terms of the exact plots of land. This may differ in parts from the route parallel to OPAL. 

Environmental compatibility criteria

A natural gas pipeline should be planned to be as environmentally-friendly as possible. Consequently, different route variants are assessed on the basis of the impacts they have on resources that need to be protected:

Resources to be protected

Analysis of the impacts on


Residential environment and recreation areas

Animals, plants and biological diversity

European network of nature reserves “Natura 2000,” special protection of species (flora and fauna), conservation areas, natural monuments, valuable biotopes from the perspective of landscape ecology, and high-quality forests and woodlands.


Types of soil that need to be conserved


Groundwater and surface waterways


Structures that shape the landscape and the scenery

Culture and other material goods

Cultural, architectural and archaeological monuments

Regional compatibility criteria

Landscapes and space are used in a wide range of ways in Germany. It is therefore important to plan a new pipeline so that it is compatible with other – existing or already planned – uses of the space in a region. EUGAL should also be compatible with the regions it runs through. As part of that, the planners examine what impacts a new natural gas pipeline would have on:

  • Development of the region for settlement/industry and commerce
  • Ecologically sensitive countryside areas/biotopes
  • Areas for existing and planned wind power farms
  • Future areas for extracting natural resources