TALLINN - Nord Stream, the Russian gas connection to Germany being built across the bottom of the Baltic Sea, will probably cost 8.8 billion euros, more than the previous estimate of 5 billion euros, reports daily Vedomosti. The cost forecast includes higher “administrative” expenditures and interest and commissions on financing, said Nord Stream spokeswoman Irina Vasilieva.
Finnish and Estonian environmental organizations have disputed in the Finnish Vaasa administrative court the water usage permit, issued by Finnish authorities to the Nord Stream project, for building the gas pipeline in the Finnish territorial sea. The Uusimaa department of the Finnish Nature Protection Society, Estonian Nature Foundation, Estonian Nature Researchers Society, Estonian Green Movement, Estonian Students’ Environment Protection Society Sorex, Laanerannik, Nomme Tee Society, Seminatural Community Conservation Association and Tartu Students Nature Protection Club disputed the permit on March 15 in the Finnish Vaasa administrative court, reports Estonian National Broadcasting.
According to the application submitted to the court, these groups are applying for declaring the issued permit null and void. The organizations explained their decisions by claiming that the public has not had the possibilities of getting information about the possible effects accompanying the construction and of making proposals. The applicants also think that the evaluation on the situation with dioxin and other toxic chemicals that might be released from the bottom of the Gulf of Finland during the building of the gas pipeline is inadequate.
The Finnish Vaasa administrative court will decide upon taking the application of Finnish and Estonian environmental organizations into proceedings during the next three months.
The consortium behind the planned Nord Stream gas pipeline said on March 16 that it had secured a funding deal from 26 banks, reports AFP. “The completion of Phase I financing is a landmark event in the development of Nord Stream and helps take the project from concept to reality,” said Alexei Miller, chief executive of Russian giant Gazprom, which is leading the project. “Nord Stream solidifies the long-standing energy relationship between Russia and Europe, a relationship that has lasted nearly 40 years,” he said. The pipeline will provide “reliable supplies of Russian energy to Europe for many decades to come,” he added.
The shareholders - Gazprom, Germany’s BASF/Wintershall Holding GmbH and E.ON Ruhrgas AG and Dutch company N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie - are providing 30 percent of the total project costs.
“It is clear from Phase I financing that investors see Nord Stream as an excellent investment opportunity,” said Matthias Warnig, managing director of the consortium. “The successful conclusion of the Phase I financing demonstrates that there is genuine enthusiasm for a project that will provide Europe with another major supply route for natural gas,” he added.
Construction of the pipeline is to begin in April, with first deliveries to Europe expected next year, Warnig said.