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    Finland could back Nord Stream gas pipeline project - minister

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    Finland could give its backing to the Nord Stream project to build a gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea to deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, the Finnish foreign minister said on Thursday.

    BRUSSELS, February 5 (RIA Novosti) - Finland could give its backing to the Nord Stream project to build a gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea to deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, the Finnish foreign minister said on Thursday.

    The Nord Stream pipeline, which will pump gas from Siberia to Europe under the Baltic Sea, bypassing East European transit countries, is being built jointly by Gazprom, Germany's E.ON and BASF, and Dutch gas transportation firm Gasunie at an estimated cost of $12 billion.

    Alexander Stubb said in an interview with the Belgian radio station Contact Plus that the Nord Stream project was necessary along with the South Stream and Nabucco gas pipeline projects.

    The South Stream gas pipeline is designed to annually pump 31 billion cubic meters of Central Asian and Russian gas to the Balkans and on to other European countries. It involves Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Italy and Greece.

    The Nabucco pipeline is viewed as a rival to the South Stream project and is designed to link energy-rich Central Asia to Europe through Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria, bypassing Russia and Ukraine. Construction has been tentatively scheduled to begin in 2010.

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