A Russian-led consortium planning to build a gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea on Nov. 1 rejected criticism of the project from Sweden's environment minister.
The Nord Stream consortium is seeking Sweden's approval of the pipeline route between Russia and Germany since part of the line would run through Swedish waters.
The proposed route "is the best solution in terms of technical, ecological and economic feasibility," Nord Stream, which is 51% owned by Russian state gas giant Gazprom, said.
The consortium agreed in 2005 to build a 1,200-kilometer (740-mile) undersea pipeline from Vyborg in Russia to Greifswald in Germany, aiming to turn on the taps by 2010 to supply energy-hungry western Europe.
On Oct. 31 Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren called on Nord Stream to come up with alternative routes, saying that the current one was "environmentally problematic and risky," notably due to wartime mines and chemical waste on the seabed.
Germany's BASF and E.ON hold 24.5% each in the project.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007