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Nord Stream AG to consider Swedish route change proposal - extended

Nord Stream AG, the operator of a project to build a gas pipeline from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea, said on Thursday it would consider Sweden’s proposals for altering the pipeline’s route. Gazprom to build Nord Stream pipeline in the Czech Republic.

The Swedish government demanded on Wednesday that the Nord Stream route be deviated eastward to Baltic coasts to reduce any environmental danger to the country. Nord Stream AG is to make a thorough consideration of the proposed new route, saying in a statement that, “Nord Stream is confident that the route which will be presented to the Swedish authorities later this year is the best possible solution in terms of technical, environmental, and economic feasibility”. The company said the route had been the subject of intensive international consultations with all the countries on the Baltic Sea for more than a year, and was currently being streamlined.

Finnish authorities proposed laying the pipeline along an alternative route in the Gulf of Finland. This would bring the pipeline closer to Estonian shores. In late September, Estonia officially turned down Nord Stream AG’s request to approve research on the Baltic seabed in Estonian commercial waters because the research would involve drilling in the area.

The ambitious Nord Stream pipeline project is estimated to be worth around $12 billion and is scheduled to be completed in 2012. The first of two parallel pipelines, approximately 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) long, each with a transport capacity of some 27.5 billion cubic meters per annum, is to become operational in 2010. In the second phase, capacity should double to about 55 billion cubic meters a year. The project has been heralded as an important contribution to the long-term security of gas supplies and a test of energy partnerships between the European Union and Russia.

Russian energy giant Gazprom owns a 51% stake in Nord Stream AG, with Germany’s BASF and E.ON holding 24.5% stakes, respectively.

Gazprom will build a new branch of its Nord Stream gas pipeline through the Czech Republic, news server wrote, citing Gazprom official Alexander Medvedev. “After the pipeline is complete we will increase the volume of gas transit through the Czech Republic, which will mean solid additional income for the country,” cited Medvedev as saying. The 176 kilometer pipeline named Gazela will run through the Czech town Hora Svate Kateriny next to the northwestern Czech-German boarder to the German town Waidhaus 

(, AFX)