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Estonia makes advances to Nord Stream

Estonian government will decide today on the sea survey to be held by Gazprom’s Nord Stream AG in offshore economic area of the country.

Acutely interested in the project, Germany stepped in to pressurize Tallinn to take the first positive decision in respect of North European Gas Pipeline. Otherwise, Nord Stream would run in Finland’s area with risks shared by all Baltic nations. Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet will propose to cabinet today to sanction Gazprom’s Nord Stream AG to survey the Baltic Sea’s bed in offshore economic area of Estonia.

On May 31, Nord Stream AG approached Estonia and Denmark seeking the permission for the seabed survey needed to lay the pipeline. Finland recommended to turn the route in the Gulf of Finland to the south, via the economic area of Estonia, and it took two hours to agree on the new path in Denmark, while Estonia needed four months to consider it.

The deadline for Estonia’s response is September 30. The denial would mean laying the pipeline in the economic area of Finland, i.e. the risks would survive but Estonia would be just a casual observer. It has happened with Poland actually, which also opposed the project. But passing a positive decision won’t be easy for Estonia. So far, only Eesti Gaaz, where Gazprom holds the majority stake, and German E.ON have backed up the project, while Estonian policymakers and scientists closed ranks to challenge it, giving potential ecological catastrophe as top reason. (kommersant.com)