The Swedish island of Gotland has reconsidered a plan to lease a port to Russian gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2, after the Swedish government expressed disapproval.
The Gazprom-led venture had planned to rent a port in Slite and a harbour in Karshamn on the mainland as marshalling yards and shipment depots to save time and money but this is not now looking likely, following a meeting between local and government officials this week.
Nord Stream 2 said December 15, 2016: «Both ports had until very recently signaled their commercial interest in co-operating on the project. The consequence of the decision would be that Wasco Coatings, the German unit of Dutch Wasco Coatings, would not be able to sign contracts for the use of these harbours for pipe transshipments.»
Sweden's foreign minister Margot Wallstrom and defence minister Peter Hultqvist invited representatives from the municipalities to the capital Stockholm on December 14 and, after the meeting, Wallstrom said the government had expressed its disapproval of the leases, but added that rules of regional autonomy prevented it from stopping them, website Local said.
However as regional heads hinted after the meeting, they now seem to have changed their minds. «We're going to say no to leasing the port to Nord Stream,» Tommy Gardell, chairman of the Gotland council committee handling the decision, confirmed to the TT newswire midday December 15.
Swedish energy sources told late November that the country was nervous about a Russian presence on its territory for possibly 18 months, as happened during the laying of Nord Stream 1 when relations between Russia and the European Union were better. However the island would have made money from the operation.
Nord Stream 2 told that if the situation did not change then it would need to use its other facilities, 1 in Germany and 2 in Finland, more intensively. But while it would not affect the timeline or the schedule, it would take longer to deliver the coated sections of linepipe to the laybarge and this would probably push up the costs and environmental impact. Using the island last time for marshalling yards and shipments had allowed the pipes to be delivered faster.