MOSCOW (Reuters) - Finland has approved the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline through Finland’s economic zone, the Finnish government and Russian gas exporter Gazprom said on Thursday.
The pipeline between Russia and Germany, which would run for around 375 kilometers across Finland’s economic zone through the Baltic Sea, still requires a construction permit from local Finnish authorities.
The pipeline’s operator Nord Stream 2 AG said it expected the second permit “within the next weeks”.
Nord Stream 2, planned to run from Russia across the bed of the Baltic Sea to Germany, would double the existing Nord Stream pipeline’s current annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters.
Eastern European and Baltic states fear the pipeline could increase reliance on Russian gas and undermine Ukraine’s role as a gas transit route, but Germany and other beneficiaries in northern Europe back the project.
Germany has approved the pipeline and the project is currently collecting permits from Russia, Sweden and Denmark.
Late last year, Denmark passed a law that could allow it to ban the pipeline from going through its waters.
Reporting by Oksana Kobzeva; writing by Andrey Ostroukh; additional reporting by Tuomas Forsell from Helsinki; editing by Jason Neely and Jane Merriman