Nord Stream considering two new gas pipelines in Baltic Sea
A range of national security and environmental concerns are likely to be revived after reports that Nord Stream AG, which recently finished laying its second gas pipeline on the floor of the Baltic Sea, is investigating the possibility of constructing two more along a different route.
A spokesman for the company told ETV that no specific routes have been drafted yet. The possibility of a pipeline running through Estonia's exclusive economic zone is theoretically on the table, although the Estonian government has not received any requests or proposals to this end, writes news.err.ee.
Nord Stream AG finished laying its second gas pipeline on the seabed last week and is currently making technical preparations for opening it in October. It is parallel to the first pipeline and runs through the territorial waters of Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.
The company says it is already exploring the profitability of laying two more pipelines.
According to Jens D. Müller, the deputy communications director of Nord Stream AG, this is a logical step. "Our project has a certain benchmark character, because we completed it on time and on budget and had a lot of good experiences of consultation with the Baltic Sea countries," he told ETV.
Müller claimed that no potential routes for the new pipelines have been drafted yet but that it was certain that the new pipelines could not be laid in parallel with the existing ones. "We are investigating a lot of options, starting with the landfall area in Russia, the routes through the Baltic Sea, and the landing point in Germany. We will consider all the options. So, it's not one single proposal, but an overview of options, where nothing is excluded."
A pipeline through the Estonian economic zone could be one of the options. When asked for a comment by ETV, the Prime Minister's office stated that since the government has had nothing to discuss with regard to the company's possible future actions, the Prime Minister's position remains the same as it was when he responded to a question posed by a representative of the Centre Party faction in Parliament on June 11.
Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said back then that the government cannot take a position on a project whose feasibility is still being analyzed. "When the company decides to start planning new routes and turns to the government, that is when we will develop a position."
According to the IRL chairman Urmas Reinsalu, his party continues to hold firm to the opinion that due to environmental and security concerns, it is "unthinkable" that the company even be allowed to conduct studies in the Estonian territorial waters, never mind about laying a gas pipeline.
"Let me remind you that one of the reasons why we refused permission for the first two pipelines was that having an object like this in the Estonian territorial waters might entail giving Russian military vessels authorization for entering the Estonian waters based on a claim that they would be defending the pipeline," said Reinsalu.
According to the representatives of Nord Stream AG who met with journalists at the beginning of this week in Dragör, Denmark, no decisions have been made or schedules drawn up with regard to the construction of new gas pipelines.
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