10 Feb 2010 18:20

Finland verdict on Nord Stream to announced within days

HELSINKI. Feb 10 (Interfax) - Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen on Wednesday cited the Finnish environmental protection authority as saying it would take the next few days to come up with its final decision on whether or not to allow the planned Nord Stream natural gas pipeline to cross the Finnish section of the Baltic Sea bed.

Vanhanen told a news conference that the Finnish government gave its go-ahead to the project in autumn 2009 but that Finland's environmental authority had to also approve the decision independently. Nord Stream is a 1,223-kilometer pipeline that will link Vyborg in Russia with Greifswald in Germany. Construction of the pipeline is scheduled to begin in 2010. The first strand of the pipeline with a capacity to ship 27.5 billion cubic meters a year will become operational in 2011. The addition of a second strand will double capacity to 55 bcm.

Russia's Gazprom has a 51% stake in the Nord Stream AG joint venture. BASF/Wintershall and E.ON Ruhrgas each have 20% stakes and N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie has 9%. Talks on French GDF Suez's entry into the project are underway.