Nord Stream plans new gas pipelines

Gas pipeline firm Nord Stream will hold an information meeting on the Baltic island of Gotland on Monday to introduce a proposal to extend its controversial gas pipeline project.

Nord Stream plans new gas pipelines

Russian company OAO Gazprom is the majority shareholder in Nord Stream, an international consortium formed in 2005 to plan and construct a 1,224-kilometre natural gas pipeline along the Baltic Sea floor.

Now, Nord Stream wants to expand the project by adding one or two more pipelines.

The gas pipelines currently under construction will deliver natural gas from Russia to Germany via Sweden. The proposed extension would run from Russia to Germany, passing Finland, Sweden and Denmark.

Monday’s meeting in Visby, Gotland will be open to the public and is part of a decision-making process where stakeholders have the opportunity to voice opinions. It is a requirement for being allowed to submit a construction application.

“We hope to begin putting the pipes down in 2016,” said Nord Stream spokesman Lars O Grönstedt.

The Nord Stream project met with fierce protests when it was launched. According to US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in 2011, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president at the time of the project launch, and other power brokers in Russia had no intention of listening to criticisms or protests.

In a report from the US embassy in Moscow, the EU coordinator with Russia’s foreign ministry, Dmitri Polyanski, said back in 2007 that the pipeline would be built regardless of noisy protests from Poland, Estonia and Sweden.

“It can’t be stopped. Not even by a big EU country like Poland,” he said.

Sweden approved the Nord Stream project in November 2009. It was projected to supply 25 million European households with natural gas from Russia.

The most vociferous protests had to do with the project’s potential environmental impact on sensitive marine environments along the Baltic Sea floor.

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Sweden lags in Baltic Sea protection efforts

Sweden is not meeting its targets for restoring the Baltic sea, and neither are any of the other eight countries bordering the sea, according to a report published on Monday by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Sweden lags in Baltic Sea protection efforts

The Baltic Action Plan was signed in Krakow, Poland, in 2007, with the aim of restoring the Baltic Sea’s marine environments by 2021 with cooperation from the nine countries bordering the sea.

On Monday, the WWF stated that all of the countries are not up to scratch in following the 56 proposed actions to save the sea, and that they all appear destined to fail in each objective by 2021.

Objectives include eutrophication, pollution, shipping and biodiversity. Sweden is particularly lacking when it comes to meeting the target for biodiversity protection, being the worst of the Baltic Sea countries.

Sweden was ranked equal third with Estonia in the report, following Finland and Germany. Lithuania and Russia claimed the bottom places.

“This is urgent. All countries are far behind. If they do not make a real effort, the entire plan risks being overturned,” Håkan Wirtén, Secretary General of WWF, said in a statement.

“To avoid or postpone investments to protect and restore the Baltic Sea is not responsible behaviour. Nor is this something that we who live around the sea can accept. The later we act, the more expensive it becomes,” said Åsa Andersson, Director of WWF’s aquatic unit.

The Baltic Sea, one of the world’s largest brackish water bodies, is in danger due to the increasing human usage of the water, but also because of its low level of water exchange.

The Baltic Sea countries will meet on October 3rd in Copenhagen to oversee the action plans.

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