Germany, Poland: Nord Stream Pipe Won't Block Polish Port Expansion
WARSAW -(Dow Jones)- The Nord Stream pipeline that will deliver natural gas from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea won't block development of a key Polish port, the German and Polish leaders said Tuesday as they sought to allay Polish public opinion mindful of German and Russian influence on its soil.
"We've gotten confirmation at the top political level, in documents, that if Poland decides to deepen the waterway that leads to the ports in Swinoujscie and Szczecin, the German side will take appropriate action to remove any obstacle," Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk told reporters.
Germany doesn't want any project in which it's involved to be directed against other countries, "especially not against our neighbor Poland," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said following joint cabinet consultations in Warsaw.
Access to the Swinoujscie port is especially important for Poland; it plans to build a liquefied natural gas terminal there as one element of its multi-pronged drive to diversify its sources of energy away from Russia.
It remains unclear whether or not the pipeline will obstruct any possible future redevelopment of the port--there are no redevelopment plans at present and Tusk said Tuesday that currently the pipeline doesn't hinder access.
Nord Stream is a joint venture between Russian gas giant OAO Gazprom, BASF SE subsidiary Wintershall AG, and E.ON AG unit E.ON Ruhrgas, both of Germany, Dutch Gasunie and France's GDF Suez.
The pipeline is set to start pumping Russian gas to Europe later this year. Poland's drive to lower its reliance on Russian gas has taken on urgency in recent years as supplies have been disrupted by Russia's price quarrels with other transit countries, including Belarus and Ukraine.
By Marcin Sobczyk and Marynia Kruk, Dow Jones Newswires
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