Nord Stream 2 Clears Final Legal Hurdle, Could Be Finished by Year-End

Denmark ends its stalling, issues the last needed permit

After months of bitter wrangling, the government of Denmark gave the go-head for Russia’s Gazprom to build the Nord Stream 2 pipeline through its territorial waters [actually through its exclusive economic zone] – the last country on the route between Russia and Germany to grant construction permissions.

The announcement comes after president Vladimir Putin talked to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on October 30 and suggested making a “package deal” that links the disputed payment of $3bn award by Gazprom to Ukraine together with a temporary transit deal for Russian gas via Ukraine to its European customers.

The Danish Energy Agency (DEA) said on October 30 it had issued a permit allowing Russia’s state-owned Gazprom to lay a 147-km section of the pipeline through Denmark’s exclusive economic zone, southeast of the island of Bornholm.

The decision comes as a victory for Gazprom, which has been lobbying the government but the fight has delayed the completion of construction, as the pipeline was due to come online at the start of 2020 to give Russia an alternative export route that would have allowed it to by pass Ukraine, with whom a gas transit deal expires on January 1, 2020.

The delay in the completion of Nord Stream 2 means that Russia needs to negotiate a temporary transit deal with Ukraine for 2020, but as bne IntelliNews reported talks are going nowhere. Gazprom met with Ukraine’s national gas company Naftogaz in Brussels earlier this week, hosted by Brussels, to try and negotiate a new transit deal, in a meeting that ended in the trading of barbed remarks on Gazprom’s failure to pay Naftogaz $3bn awarded to it as damages by an arbitration court in Stockholm.

Russia is eager to defend and expand its share of Europe’s gas market in the face of EU efforts to diversify supply. It also comes as a blow to the US, which has fiercely opposed Nord Stream 2 while promoting its own LNG as an alternative source of gas for Europe. Washington has sought to impose sanctions on the project, which even if enacted are likely to come too late to make an impact.

Gazprom secured all other necessary permits to run Nord Stream 2 through Russian, Swedish, Finnish and German waters more than a year ago. It first filed applications with Danish authorities back in 2017. With more than 2,100 km of its 2,400 km of pipes now in place, Gazprom may still have enough time to complete Nord Stream 2 by the end of this year as originally planned, say experts.

Gazprom’s other export pipeline projects are also coming to completion. The southern route Turkish Stream is complete and Gazprom announced last week that it has started loading the pipeline with gas. And on October 31 the Russian gas giant announced that the Power of Siberia pipeline that links Russia to China’s northwest territories has also been completed and is about to be launched. Nord Stream 2 is the last of a trident of new pipelines that will carry Russian gas to Europe and effectively cutting Ukraine  out of the transit business.

The Nord Stream 2 operating company, a subsidiary of Gazprom, said in a statement welcoming Denmark’s approval that it would begin preparatory works on its Danish section within weeks. But how quickly it can commission the pipeline and bring it to its peak flow capacity of 55bn cubic metres per year is another matter.Commissioning of a major gas pipeline can take months.

And timing is critical.

Gazprom devised Nord Stream 2 as means of redirecting its European gas shipments away from Ukraine, currently the main transit route for Russian gas sales to the continent carrying circa 85bcm of the circa 200bcm Russia delivers to Europe each year.

Its long-term transit contract with Ukraine’s Naftogaz is due to expire at the end of this year, and Moscow had hoped that Nord Stream 2 would be ready by then so it could divert as much gas as possible away from Ukraine before agreeing new transit terms. Negotiations between the pair are ongoing, with little sign of progress.

Russia may also have to send some supplies via Nord Stream 2 that would otherwise have been pumped through its Nord Stream channel, following an EU court ruling limiting Gazprom’s access to Germany’s OPAL pipeline that handles Nord Stream’s gas.

Source: bne IntelliNews

  1. Garry Compton says

    I worked pipelines – disrupting the production in the summer months , then giving the OK in November is chicken shit – but this is to be expected, by the pro Zio Danes. Russia has the patience of a Saint.

  2. JustPassingThrough says

    now how long before the UE totally collapses and is partitioned?

  3. DarkEyes says

    Well done, Gazprom!

  4. stevek9 says

    If delivery is delayed, I doubt that Russia is desperate to sell this gas. Russia can do without the money, I wonder how well Europe can do without the gas.

  5. David Bedford says

    When these gas deliveries start being pumped Russia will up their purchasing of gold

    1. Mary E says

      No moss growing under their feet!

  6. Mistaron says

    You know the US ain’t gonna take this lying down. Beware continued efforts to sabotage at every turn.

    1. Terje M says

      So we can expect a major disrupting event the next half year, like Skripal x 10 or MH17, to stop this project. Maybe a war is coming, (Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine etc)

      As for sabotage, the CIA fed faulty computer chips to the Soviet Union, causing the Yamal pipeline to blow up in 1982 , the biggest non-nuclear man-made explosion ever.

      I also remember reading a Reuters article a few years ago on how ammo dumped after WW2 posed a threat to Nord Stream.

    2. Mary E says

      Yes, indeed! That is the only way the US does things …sabataging other countries’ efforts – and/or invade and decimate them then take their oil or other natural resources. Just a bunch of criminals…BUT Russia knows how to use diplomacy and to negotiate Win-Win situations…something the US knows nothing about.

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