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Start of Public Participation throughout Baltic Sea Region on Nord Stream Pipeline Project

March 9, 2009 | Zug | The Nord Stream consortium takes another step forward this week with the start of public participation in all nine Baltic Sea countries on its planned gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea. In the five countries through whose waters the pipeline will pass – Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany – the public will have the opportunity to comment on both the national and transboundary environmental impacts of the pipeline. In Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland the participation will cover the potential transboundary impacts. The authorities of the nine Baltic Sea states agreed that this cross-national consultation phase would be completed in June 2009.

Nord Stream as the project developer had provided the Baltic Sea countries with the transboundary environmental report (‘Espoo Report’) in nine languages and English. According to the United Nations Espoo Convention, countries under whose jurisdiction a proposed activity is envisaged to take place must inform their neighbouring countries about potential transboundary environmental impacts. The report is also available online at www.nord-stream.com/eia-permitting.html.

The Nord Stream consortium also filed its national Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) documentation in Finland and Denmark, together with its applications for national permits to lay and operate the pipeline in the waters of these two countries. The national permit applications have already been filed in Sweden, Germany and Russia.  

“The Nord Stream consortium has spent more than 100 million Euros on environmental impact studies and environmental planning to ensure that the design and routing of the pipeline through the Baltic Sea will be environmentally sound and safe,” says Dirk von Ameln, Nord Stream’s Permitting Director. “We have also been in intensive dialogue with the authorities throughout the region in order to understand and take account of their concerns. This public participation phase marks an important milestone for Nord Stream, and confirms that we are on schedule to start transporting gas from Russia to Europe in 2011,” he adds.

“We believe that completion of the public participation phase will enable any outstanding issues arising to be resolved in the summer, so that we will receive the five national permits later this year, in time to start construction in early 2010,” he adds.

Since 2006, Nord Steam has made significant decisions about the routing of the pipeline after considering environmental factors.

Based on three criteria – environmental, socio-economic and technical – Nord Stream considered five main routing options:

  • North or south of Gogland, in Russian waters
  • North or south of Kalbådagrund, in Finnish waters
  • East or west of Gotland and around Hoburgs Bank, in Swedish waters
  • Around Bornholm, in Danish and German waters
  • Bringing the pipeline ashore at Lübeck, Rostock or Greifswald in Germany.

Detailed surveys and research of potential environmental and socio-economic impacts are part of a process dating back to 1997. Nord Stream has conducted 40,000 kilometres of seabed surveys along possible routes. The surveys started across a two kilometre wide corridor and were progressively narrowed to a corridor of only 15 metres along which items as small as mobile phones have been recorded. These surveys have enabled the Nord Stream consortium to propose a safe and environmentally sound route, avoiding wherever possible environmentally sensitive sites, cultural heritage and munitions and to agree with the authorities the best way to deal with such obstacles where it would not be possible to avoid them.

Nord Stream will eventually be able to supply 55 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year, the equivalent of 25 per cent of the additional imported gas that Europe is expected to require due to increased demand and depleting resources in the North Sea.

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