Estonia to present position on Nord Stream soon

  • 2008-01-09
  • By TBT staff
TALLINN - Estonia has until Jan. 18 to give its position on where it believes the Russian-German gas pipeline should be located, a top official was quoted as saying.
Taimar Ala, an official with the Environment Ministry, told the Rosbalt news agency on Jan. 2 that Estonia continues to monitor and give its opinion on the project in terms of environmental impact.
Last year Estonia's government prohibited Nord Stream, the name of the Russian-German gas pipeline venture, from conducting geological surveys in the Baltic state's territorial waters. It was the first sovereign snub to the controversial project, which will link Russia and Germany with a pipeline running beneath the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea.

"Estonia continues to participate in appraising potential influences of the Nord Stream project on the environment in the capacity of an affected government and still has full rights to participate in the discussion of any activities connected with preserving the environment," Ala said.
He also said Nord Stream has called for an extension of its investigation of the sea bottom and was expected to present the results in the spring.
When completed, Nord Stream will be one of the longest undersea pipelines in the world at nearly 1,200 kilometers. However, while the project still struggles with the optimal route and environmental impact studies, costs are steadily increasing. Current estimates put the price tag at over 5 billion euros, though this is likely to increase due to rising metal prices.

The project's owners 's Russia's Gazprom, Germany's E.ON Ruhrgas and Wintershall 's are targeting 2010 for the launch of the first pipeline and 2012 for the launch of the second.
The project has met widespread criticism, particularly in the Baltics and Scandinavia, but European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso continues to support the project.
While in Estonia to mark the Schengen enlargement, Barroso told a press conference, "We believe we should support Nord Stream. It is a project that links Russia with several countries of the European Union and it is important for overall energy supply to the EU."