MOSCOW, October 30. /TASS/. The Danish Energy Agency has granted a permit to Nord Stream 2 AG to construct a section of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline southeast of the island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea, the agency said in a press release on Wednesday.
"The Danish Energy Agency has granted a permit to Nord Stream 2 AG to construct a section of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipelines on the Danish continental shelf southeast of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea," according to the press release.
In April, Nord Stream 2 AG, the operator of the Nord Stream 2 project, applied for two route alternatives on the continental shelf southeast of Bornholm with a length of respectively 147 km and 164 km.
The Danish Energy Agency rejected the northwestern route mainly "due to an assessment of the impact on shipping and Natura 2000 areas."
The agency has approved the shortest route, since it provides the least risk and impact from an environmental and safety perspective and therefore is the preferable choice, according to the press release.
On Wednesday, Nord Stream 2 AG reported that it plans to start the preparatory work and the pipelay in Danish waters in coming weeks.
More than 2,100 km of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline have been laid for the time being, the operator said. "Pipelay has been completed in Russian, Finnish and Swedish waters, and for the most part in German waters. The construction of both landfall facilities in Russia and Germany is nearing completion," the Nord Stream 2 AG noted.
Earlier, head of Gazprom Alexei Miller said that the construction of a section of the pipeline in Danish waters would take about five weeks after the project’s operator obtains permit from the country's authorities.
Nord Stream AG applications for Denmark’s permit
As a coordinating body, the Danish Energy Agency presented a public environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for the route of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, developed by Nord Stream 2 AG, to the southeast of Bornholm. This route passes through the Danish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), outside of the Danish territorial waters.
On April 15, 2019, in order to protect the interests of the shareholder and financial investors, Nord Stream 2 AG, despite legal uncertainty, submitted a third application for a permit and relevant EIA documentation to DEA. The water area along which the southeastern route passes was previously disputed between Poland and Denmark and therefore was not available for the development of any projects. It will become available after the ratification of the border agreement by Denmark and Poland.
Nord Stream 2 AG applied for the permit and an environmental impact assessment following the decision of the DEA of March 26.
However, on April 17, Nord Stream 2 AG appealed the decision of the DEA, as the company considers the agency’s request for a third application and a third consultation process to be excessive and illegal. By that time Nord Stream 2 already had two pending applications with the DEA.
In April 2017, Nord Stream 2 applied for the route based on the guidance received from Danish authorities for the existing Nord Stream Pipeline — this base case route crosses territorial waters to the south of Bornholm. In January 2018, the amended Danish Continental Shelf Act entered into force with retroactive effect only for the Nord Stream 2 project. The law gave the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs the right to veto infrastructure projects running through territorial waters on political grounds.
In August 2018, after eight months without any indication of the timing of the Minister of Foreign Affairs recommendation, Nord Stream 2 was therefore forced to apply for a second, alternative route outside Danish territorial waters, north-west of Bornholm through the Danish EEZ. This northwestern route was considered the preferred one in the Danish EEZ in terms of environmental impact.
To date, Nord Stream 2 has been built by more than 80%. Its commissioning is scheduled for the end of 2019. Earlier, head of Gazprom Alexei Miller said that the construction of a section of the pipeline through Danish waters would take about five weeks after the project’s operator obtains permit from the country's authorities.