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Lithuania Seeks New Pipe Report

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said Monday that he wanted an independent environmental assessment on the planned Nord Stream gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea and had raised the issue with the European Commission.

Nord Stream, owned by Gazprom, BASF and E.On, plans to build the pipeline from Russia to Germany with the goal of starting deliveries from 2010.

Some countries around the Baltic Sea have expressed worries about its environmental effect.

"We think that an independent study, arranged by the European Commission, could positively impact the situation and increase confidence in the project," Kirkilas said.

He said Lithuania had raised the issue of an independent study with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso during a visit by the latter to Lithuania last week.

Kirkilas said Lithuania was worried about munitions that were dumped on the seabed after World War II.

"No one knows in detail the situation at the bottom of the seabed," he added. "An accident could have tragic consequences."

Nord Stream plans to carry out a full environmental impact assessment as part of the process to get permission from the nations around the Baltic Sea for the pipeline. It has said it will work to meet the concerns of every nation and will conduct studies of ammunition dumps.

Lithuania has also been anxious to get Russia to restore supplies of crude oil, stopped in 2006, to its Mazeikiu refinery, though Kirkilas said he had had no response to requests for a discussion with Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.

(The Moscow Times 03.iv.07)

 
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