A consortium aiming to build a Baltic Sea pipeline to bring Russian gas to western Europe has completed an environmental impact report and said on Friday it is on track to begin deliveries in 2011.
If it is built, the Nord Stream pipeline would carry 55 billion cubic meters per year of Russian gas along the Baltic seabed to Germany, opening a major new supply channel.
The Nord Stream consortium said in a statement on Friday it completed its environmental impact report and was preparing translations into nine languages for authorities in Baltic Sea countries ahead of public discussions beginning in March.
The report was delayed from an earlier January target by governments' concerns that the huge report should be written in a way that would be widely accessible.
"The start of public participation on our...report will mark an important milestone for Nord Stream, and confirms that we are on schedule to start transporting gas from Russia to Europe in 2011," Nord Stream's Permitting Director Dirk von Ameln said in a statement.
Nord Stream annual gas supplies would meet 25 percent of the additional imported gas that Europe is expected to need due to growing demand and declining resources in the North Sea, Nord Stream said in the statement.
The consortium, in which Russia's Gazprom has a 51 percent stake, has earlier said it aims to start deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2011.
It said it had spent 100 million euros ($129.2 million) on environmental impact studies and environmental planning.
Permits to build and operate the pipeline are needed from Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany whose territory it would traverse. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland are also considered "affected countries" and must be kept informed.
Several countries have concerns. Poland has voiced fears its role as a transit route for Russia gas, and therefore its own energy security could be harmed, while Finland and Sweden are worried the pipeline could pollute Baltic waters.
Germany's Wintershall, which is a unit of chemicals group BASF, and E.ON each have a 20 percent stake in Nord Stream AG. Gasunie of the Netherlands has 9 percent.
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