Nord Stream 2 pipeline project given hard sell in Latvia

Representatives of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline were in Riga June 6 promoting the project.

At a press briefing, representatives of Danish engineering company Ramboll presented their positive assessments of the project, which would see a new undersea pipeline (in fact two pipes) linking Russia and Germany in addition to the existing Nord Stream connector.

Under the project slogan: "Committed, reliable, safe" a series of Ramboll representatives and Lukas Brunnschweiler, Permitting Office Manager of Nord Stream 2 AG emphasised that Nord Stream 2 would "enhance the natural gas market" and "supports European energy objectives."

The project would  "ensure the European natural gas market has sufficient secure supply" and even reduce the EU's carbon emissions from electricity production, journalists were told by Brunnschweiler.

Nord Stream 2 "will help to ensure economic growth in the whole of the European economic area," Brunnschweiler said, "We want to ensure the European natural gas market has sufficient secure supply".

The total cost of the project would be 9.5 billion euros, underwritten by Russian state company Gazprom and a consortium of European energy companies.

Latvia, along with Estonia, Lithuania and Poland, is officially opposed to the project, arguing that it will increase dependence on Russian gas and bypass supplies via Ukraine.

However, that opposition does not seem to be carrying much weight, with the experts saying pipes will be laid at a rate of three kilometers per day and the whole thing can be constructed in less than two years.

There was also a lengthy presentation emphasising that the environmental impact of the project would be minimal and offering assurances about its safety, including the information that sensors placed the length of the pipeline would be able to identify something the size of "a small suitcase" along its route. 

However the Baltic states are not the only ones expressing concern about Nord Stream 2, with recent commentary focusing on the remarkable speed with which the project is being carried forward.

Our colleagues at Estonia's ERR News reported June 6 that there is high-level discord among EU leaders over the project.

The official website of the project, with access to the full technical details and reports is HERE.

(A previous version of the story mistakenly attributed Brunnschweiler's quotes to Reinhard Ontyd, Chief Commercial Officer of Nord Stream 2. We apologize sincerely for the error.)

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