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Baltic pipeline will lead to disaster, Sweden warns

An ambitious project to build a 750-mile long gas pipeline beneath the Baltic Sea has run into trouble after Sweden's prime minister warned that the project could trigger an ecological tragedy.
The Baltic Sea is, in effect, a cemetery for discarded chemical weapons and prime minister Goran Persson said that construction would stir up a deadly cocktail of chemicals and spread them over a much larger area.

"When you build such a large pipeline on the bottom of the Baltic Sea, you stir up a lot of sediment at the bottom, where there are mines, poisons and other things that have been dumped over decades," he said. "You risk setting off a major environmental disturbance on top of all the other environmental problems the Baltic Sea has." His comments have been echoed by environmentalists.

But the £3.4bn pipeline project, a joint venture between Russia's Gazprom and Germany's BASF and E.ON, shows little sign of being put on hold. Onshore construction of the so-called North European Gas Pipeline (NEPG) has already begun in Russia and the first gas is due to be transported in 2010.

The pipeline is expected to carry billions of cubic metres of Siberian gas to Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and France.

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