Swedish Regulator Wants More Details on Baltic Pipeline
by Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa)
February 16, 2007
The Russian-German consortium with plans to
build a gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea had to present more
options for its location, a Swedish environmental agency said Friday.
The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency said it wanted the
consortium Nord Stream to present alternative routes for the 1,200-
kilometre pipeline that was slated to be built off the Swedish island
of Gotland, 90 kilometers from the mainland.
More detailed studies of the ecological impact of the pipeline and
construction work on migrating birds and fishing banks as well as the
risk of disturbing munitions and chemical weapons dumped after World
War II were also needed, the agency said.
The project has been questioned by members of the Social
Democratic opposition and military analysts. Among concerns mentioned
was that the military balance in the region could be affected since
Russia, which owns a majority stake in the company, has said it would
need to increase its naval surveillance of the gas pipeline.
Opinions also appear to differ within the Swedish government.
Swedish radio reported Friday that the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy
and Communications had drafted a memo stating that Sweden was not
obliged to approve the project, contrary to statements by Foreign
Minister Carl Bildt.
Bildt, who has been under fire for cashing in stock options after
serving on the board of a company with interests in the Russian oil
and gas industry, earlier this week said the gas pipeline was part of
European Union efforts to improve energy security.
He also criticized the former Swedish government for not raising
concerns at an earlier stage.
Sweden is not dependent on Russian energy exports, but critics of
the project have noted that Moscow has at times used energy as a
means to gain political leverage, citing the example of Ukraine.
Copyright 2007 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
Nord Stream Pipeline
Nord Stream AG
Vyborg, Russia to Greifswald, Germany Russian Federation