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Wednesday 24.05.2017 | Name days: Marlēna, Ilvija, Ziedone

Programme: Nord Stream 2 realizers pause with Ventspils’ involvement

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUAfter Latvian government’s objections in regards to the involvement of Ventspils Freeport in the construction of a new gas pipeline at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, the project’s organizers remain uncertain about organizing the delivery of pipeline parts for the project through Latvia, as reported by De Facto programme.

«The situation has become more complicated. It started out as a business deal. Now it is more political, and we need to assess the situation,» says Nord Stream 2 representative in Baltic States Romans Baumanis.

De Facto reports that Ventspils businessmen remain interested in the project. However, the project has entered a period of uncertainty.

«We hope all this will be resolved soon and Ventspils Freeport will become part of the project, and we will have the opportunity to make some a profit,» said Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics President Inga Antane. One of the members of the association, Noord Natie Ventspils Terminals, had received an offer that would have brought the company revenue of three million euros.

Antane notes that port companies were not told about the reasons why the Cabinet of Ministers decided against Ventspils Freeport’s participation in the project.

De Facto explains that ministers decided at a closed doors meeting last week to not support Nord Stream 2 project. Ministers explained their decision with potential risks for national security. Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkevics mentioned that the project could be used as cover by Russian intelligence service.

The port currently has no plans to view this matter. It is mentioned, however, that companies can act independently from the port.

«In this case, if a company has an agreement for cargoes, the existing legislation is in effect. Unless there are narcotics, arms or any other illegal items in the cargo, companies act. If the freeport’s authority has a decision to make, the port authority will do just that,» says Ventspils Freeport authority’s deputy chairman Janis Vitolins.

LTV notes that it is not clear about the role of suspended chairman of Ventspils City Council Aivars Lembergs in all this. «He publicly bashes the government for not defending Latvia’s interests and worrying more about Ukraine and Poland, for whom alternative gas pipelines are not beneficial.»

Nord Stream 2 realizers promised to build and then gift a new cargo-handling area to the port. This is why Lembergs now asks for compensation over this. Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis does not believe such an option exists. «It is not all the same to whom and for how much to sell out,» he said in regards to missed profits.

The European Commission has yet to provide a clear opinion in regards to Nord Stream 2.

«This is one project that goes completely against what has been done in the European Union to diversify supply roads and sources of natural resources,» says Latvian Economy Ministry’s deputy state secretary Janis Patmalnieks.

Foreign policy expert Andris Spruds notes that successful realization of the project would be an accomplishment for Russia. He believes Nord Stream 2 should not be over-dramatized as a business project. Aside from that, there is the political side of things caused by the crisis in Ukraine.

«For Russia, this project is a political accomplishment. On the other hand – it’s business as usual. In times of war or peace, business will always be business. Even we are happy to handle Russian transport flow at our ports,» said Spruds.


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