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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Nord Stream Looks at an Alternative Pipeline Route

STOCKHOLM -- The Russian-German company building a natural gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea may change its planned route to avoid a zone that is disputed by Denmark and Poland, a spokesman said Wednesday.

The original route planned for the 1,200-kilometer pipeline slices through a stretch of water that both Poland and Denmark claim as an exclusive economic zone.

An alternate route is now being considered that would not cross any territory to which Poland has made claims, said Jens Muller, a spokesman for Nord Stream, the firm building the pipeline.

The new proposal would squeeze the pipeline between the Danish island of Bornholm and Sweden's southeastern coast, instead of through the disputed zone, south of Bornholm.

"This is one of the options we have," Muller said by telephone from Helsinki, stressing that no decision had been made.

Several coastal nations have expressed concern over the pipeline, which is to deliver natural gas from Russia to Germany, saying it would damage the Baltic Sea's delicate ecosystem. Nord Stream is set to present an environmental impact study later this year.

Poland has objected to the fact that, in bypassing its territory, the pipeline disregards its economic interests.

"We don't want to bypass any country. What we want to do is transport gas to western Europe," Muller said.

State-controlled Gazprom owns 51 percent of Swiss-registered Nord Stream, while German energy companies E.On Ruhrgas and Wintershall each hold 24.5 percent in the consortium.

Construction of the pipeline is planned to start in 2010.