Germany’s Defense Ministry Complains Over Nord Stream Route

Germany’s Defense Ministry has challenged a permit issued by the Stralsund Mining Department for the laying of Russia’s Nord Stream gas pipeline which will carry natural gas to Europe, Hamburger Abendblatt reported on Thursday.

“We do not want to stop the operation of the pipeline,” lawyer Carsten Berthke said during the hearing, which opened on Wednesday. “The department which has issued the permit must ensure the protection of the pipe and unrestricted possibilities for the training of Bundeswehr’s marine and air forces,”

The Mining Department of the Germany city of Stralsund approved in December 2009 the construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline in Germany’s coastal waters and its route across the Defense Ministry’s Pommersche Bucht firing range.

In August 2010, the German authorities obliged investors to sink the pipeline in the sand at a depth of 0.5 meters along a 20 km local section while 1.5 km of the pipeline still run across the coastal waters.

Nord Stream, which is 1,200 km long, has been supplying natural gas to Germany for four months now. The first section of the pipeline which connects Russia and Germany along the Baltic Sea bed and has an annual capacity of 27.5 billion cubic meters of gas, was launched on November 8.

The second section, which will double the pipeline’s capacity, is expected to be launched in October 2012.

The project is operated by Nord Stream AG. The pipeline’s core shareholders include Gazprom with 51 percent, Germany’s Wintershall Holding and E.ON Ruhrgas (15.5 percent each), France’s GDF Suez and the Netherlands’ Gasunie (9 percent each).


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