Interview with Leonid Grigoriev
Russia Today: Will the Estonian Government’s decision harm the gas pipeline project?
L.G.: It really is just a minor blow against the project, because nothing can stop it except the absence of space in the sea. As far as I understand, even the Finnish Prime Minister was trying to help to resolve the issue. Gazprom can build this pipeline in the Finnish waters, but the seabed there is much less favourable. So it’s a problem of cost. But Gazprom can go north.
RT: Why is Estonia blocking the seabed investigation?
L.G.: If they would have allowed the research, it would be much more difficult for them to refuse the construction. And they essentially could bargain at the time of research or at the time of construction of the pipeline and, for example, have some contracts for the building or for supply. So they say: we hate you so much that we don’t want your money.
RT: So how many difficulties will the project face now?
L.G.: It’s a problem of money. Normally companies would prefer building pipelines in plains and not in hills, seabed plains in this case. But still it is possible to do it in one or another way, and I believe that since Germany needs this gas to reduce the dependence on nuclear and coal power and Russia needs a market for the Shtokman field, they will build it anyway.
RT: Why do you think Estonia has blocked the study?
L.G.: It’s a political decision, a local one and it was taken by a certain segment of the political elite there – nothing else. I don’t see any economic or any broad reason. On the other hand, Estonia might hope to press to build the pipeline on land. If it went for 100 km across Estonia, that would give approximately $US 100 million a year in rent.
RT: Do you think Estonians may change their mind?
L.G.: No, I don’t think so. Not at the moment. There are some issues on which they will stand to the very end. I don’t see any political mechanism at work to resolve the issue through a normal way of negotiating and bargaining. Nobody is going to offer them more to resolve the issue.