Three western partners of Nord Stream 2 call on EU for support

FRANKFURT, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The chief executives of three companies in partnership with Russia’s Gazprom over the construction of the subsea Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines on Monday called on the European Commission to give legal backing to the plan amid ongoing controversy about is impact on EU states.

* “Existing laws must be fully respected, only that will create investment and energy security,” a statement, signed by CEOs of Wintershall, Mario Mehren, Uniper, Klaus Schaefer, and OMV, Rainer Seele, said. “The legal framework for this project is clear-cut.”

* The statement comes in the context of opposition against the infrastructure mostly from outside Germany, but chiming with its Green Party that has cited high costs to taxpayers for connecting onshore pipelines and criticised more reliance on gas as a fossil fuel.

* The ongoing quarrels - with opposition most prominent from Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic States - have made some financing banks nervous.

* The three-party statement by the company leaders said the discussion had become driven by emotion while Europe’s import needs were increasing and U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) was too expensive.

* It said the EU should counter divisions between eastern and western European differences.

* Europe’s energy supply should not be allowed to become “a pawn in the hand of American energy, economic, security and geo politics.”

* The 1,225 km (760-mile) pipeline whose construction is due to begin later in 2018 bypasses Poland and Ukraine, important transit countries that stand to lose certain transport fees and access to gas.

* German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently backed the pipeline, in public disagreement with her Polish counterpart.

* The statement said while Nord Stream 2 would provide a reliable transport route for gas to reach consumers, “...countries like Ukraine and Poland, being transit monopolists, have no interest in new and competitive gas infrastructure for Europe.”

* France’s Engie and Anglo-Dutch group Shell are also partners in the western consortium. (Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Louise Heavens)


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