In a change of course, the Swedish government is inclined to let Russia’s Gazprom use Sweden’s southern port of Karlshamn for the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, as it now sees the leasing of the port is no longer a risk to national security, Swedish Radio reported on Monday, citing sources.
However, the Swedish public radio was quick to add that according to a spokeswoman for the defense ministry, the government’s position has not changed.
The Nord Stream 2 is financed by Gazprom, and like the original Nord Stream, the new version is being built by Gazprom, along with a consortium of Western European energy companies. Once operational—which is scheduled for 2019—the pipeline will carry 55 billion cubic meters (1.9 trillion cubic feet) of gas a year to Germany. Nord Stream 2 involves the construction of a gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea that would connect Russia with Germany, and then distribute gas to European Union countries.
The municipality of Karlshamn, on the Baltic Sea, is expected to vote on Tuesday whether to allow the project to use the city’s port.
According to Swedish Radio, the government now said that new information shows that hosting works for Nord Stream 2 would not be a national security threat, since the port of Karlshamn already has heavy traffic from Russian ships, is not a major commercial area for the municipality and “will be watched by the Swedish Customs, Coast Guard and police agencies.”
Late last year, the Swedish government pressured both Karlshamn and Gotland, Sweden’s strategic island in the Baltic Sea, to reject Russia’s request to use harbors as pipe storage space, because it would undermine Sweden’s political and defense interests.
Shortly after, Gotland Municipality rejected the request to lease the port of Slite to Gazprom to help with the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.