Sweden says Baltic Sea pipeline consortium application "incomplete"

Business Materials 12 February 2008 20:35 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - The Swedish government on Tuesday said it wanted more details from a consortium that plans to build an underwater Baltic Sea gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.

Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren said the application from Nord Stream, the Russian-German joint venture, was "incomplete," adding that he was "surprised" that the application submitted in December lacked so many key details.

The Swedish government for instance wanted details of what would happen if the application for the underwater pipeline was completely rejected, "a so-called non-alternative," Carlgren told reporters, adding that "Nord Stream has the burden of proof."

Other information lacking, included an alternative route for the whole pipeline and more "technical details" of a service platform envisaged to be built east of the Swedish Baltic Sea island Gotland, the minister said.

Last month, the consortium's permitting director Dirk von Ameln said he was confident Swedish authorities would approve the application.

The consortium includes Russian gas giant Gazprom, Germany's BASF/Wintershall and EON Ruhrgas and Dutch group Gasunie.

"We are confident enough to have ordered our pipes already," von Ameln said.

The 1,200-kilometre pipeline was to run from Viborg in Russia to Greifswald, Germany, and was planned to pass through the Swedish economic zone, east of Gotland.

Costs were estimated to be at least 5 billion euros (7.3 billion dollars), Nord Stream said, adding that prices of steel and vessels used to lay pipeline sections have contributed to price hikes.

Carlgren said the government was not prepared to review an incomplete application and had Tuesday sent a letter to Nord Stream advising the group to that affect.

Nord Stream has said it had no plans to build a land-based route.

Although Sweden is not dependent on Russian energy exports the country would benefit from several hundred jobs for the supplies of pipeline material at a harbour on Gotland and two locations in southern Sweden, Nord Stream has said.