The Danish Energy Agency (DEA) has finally granted a permit to Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which passes through Danish waters to Germany.
The DEA permit allows the pipeline to pass through a 147km of water southeast of the Danish island of Bornholm. The Nord Stream consortium, led by Russia’s Gazprom, welcomed the decision, and said the project would be completed in January or February at the earliest.
Once the pipeline makes shore at Greifswald, on Germany’s Baltic coast, Nord Stream will have to test it and begin the transport of gas.
The consortium still has to meet regulatory requirements, such as EU rules on third-party access to the pipeline, and it still has to reach reach agreement with the DEA on such matters as crossing existing infrastructure on the sea bed, the monitoring of environmental conditions and coordination with Denmark’s fishermen.
Nord Stream 2 is a 1,230km undersea pipeline that will double the capacity of Nord Stream 1, which opened in 2011. Russia’s Gazprom owns the project, with Royal Dutch Shell Plc and four other investors including Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall providing half of its €9.5b cost.
The Danish decision is a victory for Russia and the pro-Nord Stream faction in the EU, led by Germany, and a defeat for countries opposing it, among whom the most vociferous have been the US, Poland and Ukraine. The project has been accompanied by a long-running row between the two sides, including many allegations of geopolitical manoeuvring, disputes over the project’s economic rationale, and accusations of hidden agendas.
The Nord Stream 2 consortium said yesterday that preparatory works, such as the installation of concrete mattresses for the pipeline would start "in the coming weeks".
The Danish section of the route will be built with pipes stored on the German island of Rugen and will take six to eight weeks to complete, depending on the weather conditions and how quickly the last details can be agreed.
The installation team have been able to lay up to 4km of pipeline a day.
Image: Nord Stream 2 AG’s map of routes around the Danish island of Bornholm