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Nord Stream smaller ecological threat that oil drilling in Gulf of Mexico

LAPPEENRANTA, Finland, May 28 – Nord Stream natural gas pipeline that is being built across the floor of the Baltic Sea does not pose as big a risk for the Baltic water area as the drilling of oil wells poses in the Gulf of Mexico and there is a whole range of objective factors for this, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday at a joint news conference with Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen.

He said however this does not deliver the parties to Nord Stream from the need of observing a variety of extremely strict precautions when they implement the project.

The Russian side accepts Finland's proposal to set up a system of monitoring over the technical status of the pipeline, Putin said.

"Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen came up with this proposal and we'll think about the ways of implementing it in practice," he said.

As he answered reporters' questions about the maintenance of ecological safety in the Baltic Sea's water area, he said: "Gas isn't oil and no contamination occurs even in case of a leak because the pipeline can be blocked."

Putin indicated that up-to-date technologies makes such blocking practically instantaneous.

As for the production of crude oil, he gave the assurances that Russian companies have the most up-to-date technologies in this sphere.

He cited the oil major LUKOIL, one of the drilling rigs of which he visited fairly recently.

"Not a single kilogram of rock from the sea floor is dumped into the sea there," Putin said.with a good deal of pride, urging all other oil producers to do abide by the rule, too.

"The transportation of crude poses one more problem and we discussed it in detail," he said.

Putin voiced the hope that Russia and its partners will be able to reach agreement ensuring high levels of ecological security with its partners. (PNA/Itar-Tass)

FFC/ebp

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