The U.S. ambassador to Sweden, Michael Wood, in a comment in newspaper Svenska Dagbladet warns against the construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, saying that imported Russian gas is “a threat against Sweden”.
The article quickly triggered furore in the German government, a major stakeholder in the project. An official protest has now been sent by the Germans to U.S. authorities.
In his comment in Svenska Dagbladet, Ambassador Wood writes that “Europe should not become dependent of the unreliable Russia, which sows division between countries”.
The statement quickly spurred debate, both in Sweden and the other countries affected by the grand pipeline project, a joint initiative by Russian, German and Dutch energy companies.
According to German newspaper Handelsblatt, the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has sent an official protest to the U.S. embassy in Berlin where he expresses “major irritation” with the U.S. interference. Russian website Newsru.com writes that the pipeline project also is met by massive opposition from Polish authorities.
The Nord Stream will be the first direct pipeline connection between Russia and Germany. The pipeline will also connect with a pipeline from the Shtokman gas condensate field in the Barents Sea. The 1220 km long pipeline is a joint project of four major companies: Gazprom, BASF/Wintershall Holding AG, E.ON Ruhrgas AG and N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie.
Nord Stream is scheduled to be completed in 2011 and to deliver the first gas after a test phase in the same year. Parts of the underwater pipeline will run through Finnish and Swedish territorial waters.