Nord Stream Partner Calls for EU Support

FRANKFURT -- Baltic gas pipeline consortium Nord Stream needs more backing from the EU executive to meet its time schedule, shareholder Wintershall said Tuesday.

"If you think it is a done deal, you are wrong," Wintershall chief executive Reinier Zwitserloot said.

"If we want to see gas flow through the pipeline in the first half of 2011, all the necessary approvals must be obtained by mid-2009, but the EU Commission must help ensure that the project is not blocked by individual countries."

Nord Stream is majority-owned by Gazprom, with Wintershall parent BASF and E.On owning 20 percent each, and Dutch Gasunie having 9 percent.

The operators, who aim to build the 1,200-kilometer pipeline under the Baltic Sea, have recently said they will revise up the project's costs as the price of materials spirals higher.

Zwitserloot said his frustration stemmed from numerous delays by individual EU countries that should not be tolerated, given a fast-rising gas shortfall in the bloc. Among these, Estonia had blocked subsea exploration and Sweden had various departments considering approval of different aspects of the project, he said.