“This is an important day for the Nord Stream project. We are delighted with today’s decisions made by the Swedish and Finnish governments. These two permits are further significant milestones for our project and Europe’s security of supply,” said Matthias Warnig, managing director of Nord Stream.

The EEZ permits issued by the Swedish and Finnish governments are two of five national permits needed for the project. Denmark was the first country to grant a construction permit on October 20, 2009. With three permits now obtained, Nord Stream is another step closer to its planned start of construction in Spring 2010.

Environmental Concerns Taken into Account

“The Swedish permit is the result of extensive environmental studies, close cooperation with the authorities, as well as consultations with stakeholders and experts over the course of several years. The dialogue has always been characterized by openness and transparency,” said Lars O Grönstedt, senior management advisor to Nord Stream.

“Nord Stream highly appreciates the openness to dialogue of the Finnish authorities throughout the extensive permitting process. We are very pleased with the government’s decision,” said Sebastian Sass, Head of EU Representation, Nord Stream AG. “Reducing potential environmental impacts to the Baltic Sea was paramount to the Finnish authorities – and to Nord Stream. Pipelines can only be built after a thorough analysis of all potential risks, and the Nord Stream project is no exception.”

The routing of the pipeline in the Swedish and Finnish EEZ is based on a continuous dialogue with the environmental authorities of these countries. The route also accommodates feedback from different stakeholder groups. When planning the pipeline, several possible routes were investigated and carefully evaluated against many factors, including seabed conditions, maritime traffic, fisheries, munitions from both World Wars, and cultural heritage, along with many environmental considerations.

Natural Gas: An Important Part of the Energy Mix

“Natural gas plays a central role in bridging the gap towards using renewable energy sources. The Nord Stream Pipeline is a significant part of the infrastructure needed to bridge that gap. Replacing coal with gas for the EU-27’s electricity production would reduce CO2 emissions by 224 million tons per year. This is more than currently emitted by Finland, Sweden, Denmark and the Baltic States combined,” said Matthias Warnig.

The permitting process for the Nord Stream Pipeline is currently underway in the two other countries through which waters the pipeline passes: Russia and Germany. Finnish authorities already granted Nord Stream a permit to clear munitions on October 2, 2009. In addition to the EEZ permit, the company also needs a water permit for construction in Finland, to be granted by the Western Finland Environment Permit Authority. Nord Stream is aiming to obtain all required permits by the end of 2009.

The construction of the Nord Stream pipeline is planned to start in the first quarter of 2010, with the first pipeline operational in 2011 and the second in 2012.