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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Baltic Pipe Hit by Territorial Dispute

The Polish government said a planned gas pipeline linking Russia with Germany under the Baltic Sea would pass through disputed waters, potentially threatening to delay the 5 billion euro ($6.83 billion) project.

The link would pass through an area of sea claimed by Poland and Denmark and come under the jurisdiction of both countries, Polish Economy Minister Piotr Wozniak said at a news conference in Warsaw on Wednesday.

Sweden already demanded Gazprom change the route of the pipeline where it passes through the country's offshore economic zone.

"Investments in the exclusive economic zone are governed by the same national laws as any on land," Wozniak said. "There will be no special rights for the Nord Stream gas pipeline."

Gazprom wants to build the link to avoid pricing disputes with transit countries such as Belarus and Ukraine, which disrupted supply. Poland, which would also lose transit fees, says the line threatens its energy security.

A former defense minister last year compared it to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that divided Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union before World War II.

Gazprom customers BASF, the world's largest chemical producer, and German utility E.On also want to build the link.

Poland informed Nord Stream of a dispute over sea borders with Denmark in an international consultation process on the construction of the pipeline, Jens Mueller, a company spokesman in Germany, said by telephone Wednesday.

"We regret that Poland came up with this issue quite late in the consultation process," he said.

"We cannot wait unit the complete clarification of this" before building the pipeline, Mueller said.

The target date for completion is 2010, he said.

Nord Stream has replied to a letter from Polish ministers about the border claims, and is studying the situation, he said. It fears the matter may take years to resolve.