Plans for gas pipeline from Russia to Europe move forward

Feb 06, 2001 01:00 AM

Yuri Komarov, a member of Gazprom's board of directors, said that plans to build a gas pipeline from Russia to Europe via the Baltic Sea were moving forward as a result of Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen's visit to Moscow. Lipponen has stated that Helsinki will back the project, Komarov noted.
He was speaking shortly before Gazprom's chairman Rem Vyakhirev and Matti Vuoria, the head of the Finnish energy company Fortum, sent a letter asking the Russian government to throw its own weight behind the project. For his part, the Finnish premier told in Moscow after meeting with his Russian counterpart Mikhail Kasyanov that the two sides had reached an agreement in principle on support for the trans-Baltic pipeline.

His statements won praise from Fortum, which is expected to build the pipeline together with Russia's Gazprom. However, the Finnish company's Executive Vice President Tapio Harra pointed out on January 24 that neither Fortum nor Gazprom had yet made a final commitment to the project. This step will not be taken until European partners join the project, Harra said.
He said that firms from Great Britain, France and the Benelux countries as well as Germany might help build the pipeline.
Gazprom and Fortum have already conducted a feasibility study for the trans-Baltic pipeline project through a joint venture known as Northern Transgas Oyj. The study puts the cost of constructing a pipeline capable of transporting up to 30 bn cmpy of gas from Russia to Finland and then across the Baltic Sea floor to Germany at $ 3-5 bn. The partners may also pursue proposals to build a branch pipeline to Sweden, according to Rainer Moberg, the CEO of Northern Transgas. The pipeline would probably not be able to start operations before the end of the decade.

Source: NewsBase
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