OULU, December 9. /TASS/. The Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline project benefits all its participants, Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday.
"We indeed consider this project as a significant and large-scale but at the same time purely commercial project, which is of high importance for improvement of reliability of gas supplies to Europe," Medvedev said after talks with his Finnish counterpart. The project "will be beneficial for all those participating in it, including Finnish companies, which will participate in development of infrastructure, if such decisions are made," he added.
Nord Stream 2 AG, the operator of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project, has signed a letter of intent covering the offshore pipelay capacities for the pipeline through the Baltic Sea, the company reported Friday.
"The letter of intent ensures that Allseas will undertake offshore pipelay works for the first line and also provides the option to book capacities from Allseas for the second line up to the end of the first quarter of 2017," the report said.
Negotiations to finalize the contract will continue within this timeline, the company said. Other tenders including the near-shore pipelay tenders in Russia and Germany are ongoing.
The Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline is expected to come into service at the end of 2019. The pipeline is set to run from the Russian coast along the Baltic Sea bed to the German shore. Each of the pipeline’s two stretches will have a capacity of 27.5 billion cubic meters. The new pipeline will double the capacity of the first stretch and will basically follow its route.
Capital expenditures on the project are estimated at 8 billion euros and its total cost will amount to 9.9 billion euros, taking into account project financing.
Finland views the Nord Stream-2 to as a commercial project, Prime Minister of Finland Juha Sipila said at a joint press conference with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
"Finland considers this project from a commercial point of view, on the basis of its legislation and international rules. The most important thing for us is a thorough evaluation of the possible impact of the project on the environment," he said.
"Our solutions at the national level will be made in a timely manner," Prime Minister added.
Medvedev on Friday arrived for a one-day working visit in Oulu, a city in northwestern Finland, for talks with the country’s Prime Minister Juha Sipila. Vice-Premier and Chief of the Government Staff Sergey Prikhodko told journalists that both prime ministers would discuss a wide range of bilateral cooperation issues and the Nord Stream 2 project.
According to Prikhodko, the topics for discussion will include trade and economic ties, joint industrial projects, prospects for cooperation in the nuclear power industry. In addition, the agenda’s lineup includes work on boosting the legal framework of Russian-Finnish relations, inter-regional ties, cultural and humanitarian cooperation, interaction among law enforcement agencies, the functioning of the Russian-Finnish state border, cooperation on environmental protection and projects in the Arctic will also be key topics for discussion.
Building the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will be a separate issue for discussion. "We hope that the talks will accelerate (coordination) and we will keep inquiring when (the Finnish side) will be ready to give the go-ahead for construction," Prikhodko said.
The Finnish prime minister, in turn, stated at a news conference held a day earlier that he wanted to deliberate on urgent international problems and economic issues at Friday’s talks with Medvedev.
The Russian prime minister’s previous visit to Finland took place in November 2012. The last time the two prime ministers met each other was in St. Petersburg this past January.
Russian-Finnish trade turnover dwindled by 15% to $16 bln in 2016. Yet, in 2015 it plunged 39%, reaching $9.7 bln in 2015. Reciprocal trade figures for January-September 2016 turned out to be lower (by 15.2%) for the same period year-on-year.
More than 400 Finnish firms operate in the Russian market, while about 7,000 Finnish companies are involved in trade with Russia directly or indirectly. The construction of Finland’s Hanhikivi-1 Nuclear Power Plant is the biggest project there so far, which is being carried out in the northwestern part of the country by the Fennovoima Company along with the Russian State Corporation for Atomic Energy (Rosatom) using Russian technologies.
That said, Finland has 3,000 companies with the Russian capital.