Nord Stream to start on time

The head of Nord Stream, says construction will start as planned, on April 1 2010, despite reports of further delays, with project partners warning of difficulties raising $12 billion dollar they need to finance it.

European power giant, Gaz de France, has told RT it will take a stake in Nord Stream as early as this month. That would give GDF a share of the Baltic Sea project's 27 billion cubic meter gas capacity. But it will also have to shoulder some of the massive construction costs, a hard task in the current investment climate, according to Jean-Francois Cirelli, President of Gaz de France Suez.

“Yes, the financing questions are by definition tougher this year. But Nord Stream is a very good project, we have good partners, good bankers with us. We're not still in the consortium, we're still negotiating our entry, that we hope will be effective by the end of this year, it would be nice in the coming weeks.”

Environmental reviews and route adjustments have already pushed first gas delivery back a year, to 2011. But the head of the mega-pipeline, Matthias Warnig, Managing Director of Nord Stream AG, promises no more delays.

“Next year we will start on the first of April construction, so this is the goal.”

Nord Stream bypasses troubled transit state Ukraine, which the EU and Russia fear will block supplies again this winter.