Putin Discusses Pipeline With Schroder

ReutersPutin talking with Miller on Thursday in Sochi, where he also met with Schroder to discuss the Nord Stream pipeline.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met with former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder a week after a U.S. diplomat criticized a planned Gazprom gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea.

Putin received Schroder, who chairs the Nord Stream pipeline project, and Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller at the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Thursday, state-run broadcaster Vesti-24 reported.

Nord Stream, which Gazprom plans to build with Wintershall, E.On Ruhrgas and Nederlandse Gasunie, will supply consumers in Germany, France, Britain, the Netherlands and Denmark, Putin said. Other partners in the project may still be considered, he added.

Last week, U.S. Ambassador to Sweden Michael Wood published a commentary urging the European Union to review its energy dependence on Russia following the August invasion of Georgia. Wood called on the EU to reconsider Nord Stream as well as a second Gazprom project, the South Stream pipeline under the Black Sea linking Russia to Italy via the Balkans.

Schroder, who became chairman of Nord Stream less than a month after leaving office in 2005, defended the project today, saying 100 million euros ($145 million) had been invested in an environmental study of the Baltic Sea that will be presented in October.

At a meeting later Thursday, Putin discussed regional energy projects, including the South Stream gas pipeline, with Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev, Interfax reported. Bulgaria signed on as a South Stream partner in January and is participating in a planned Russian oil pipeline bypassing the clogged Turkish straits via Greece.