Nord Stream Price Tag to Exceed Plan

STOCKHOLM -- Costs for a proposed Baltic Sea pipeline to deliver gas from Russia to Germany will exceed the initial estimate of $7.3 billion, a spokesman for the project said Monday.

A revised cost estimate for the 1,200-kilometer pipeline will be presented in March, Nord Stream spokesman Jens Muller told reporters in Stockholm.

"It has become quite clear that the cost will be higher" than the original estimate, Muller said, citing rising steel prices.

The pipeline is planned to carry 55 billion cubic meters of gas each year from the northwestern Russian port of Vyborg to the northern German port of Greifswald, bypassing current routes through Poland, Belarus and Ukraine.

Some countries on the Baltic Sea worry that the pipeline poses a major risk to the environment and that Russian activity in their territorial waters could compromise military security.

Nord Stream official Dirk von Ameln said, however, that the consortium was so confident that the project would be approved by Baltic Sea nations that it has ordered its pipelines already.

There will be no need for increased Russian military presence in the Baltic Sea, and the environmental impact has been investigated carefully, he said.

Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren has said previously that the pipeline's effect on the Baltic Sea's sensitive environment will be "scrutinized very closely."

The plan has provoked strong opposition in Poland, which gets transit fees from Russian gas crossing its territory. In September, Estonia refused to allow the pipeline to run through its waters.