Denmark allows Nord Stream 2 to complete pipeline hit by US sanctions

Danish Energy Agency on July 6 gave Nord Stream 2 permission to use pipelaying vessels with anchors to complete the final stretch of the gas pipeline in Danish waters, allowing the company to restart work on the pipeline from Russia to Germany that was hit by US sanctions.

Nord Stream 2 submitted a request for a permit amendment in accordance with the guidance received  from the Danish Energy Agency, Nord Stream 2 EU representative Sebastian Sass told New Europe on July 7. “The Danish Energy Agency has now as expected approved our request. The amendment relates only to the potential use of pipelay vessels that use anchors for positioning and the clarification of one permit condition,” Sass said, explaining that an anchored pipelay vessel was successfully used during the installation of the already operational Nord Stream pipelines in Danish waters, and for the Nord Stream 2 pipelines already installed in German waters. “Nord Stream 2 will implement the project in accordance with the construction permit and as assessed in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). We are still considering different options and will inform about our plans in due time,” he said.

The Danish Authority’s decision means that Russian gas monopoly Gazprom can finish the pipeline using pipelaying vessels with anchors as they are not affected by US sanctions. In December, Swiss-Dutch Allseas suspended operations due to US sanctions targeting companies providing vessels laying Nord Stream 2 pipes. “By allowing the usage of anchored vessels, the amended permit gives Nord Stream 2 more freedom of choice in respect of technical characteristics and configurations of Russian pipelaying vessels it can use for finalising construction,” Katja Yafimava, a senior research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, told New Europe on July 7.

Being anchored would that slow significantly the progress of a ship laying the pipeline. “It is understood that under any configuration pipe laying speed would be lower than it would have been with Allseas but should still be doable to finalise construction in by end 2020 – early 2021, provided that the Russian pipelaying vessels have all the necessary equipment installed,” Yafimava said.

According to the DEA, remaining part of the pipeline to be constructed in Denmark is outside the area where bottom trawling, anchoring and seabed intervention are discouraged due to the risk posed by dumped Chemical Warfare Agents. Yafimava added, “The DEA’s decision does not compromise safety because the Chemical Warfare Agents area is at least 25 kilometres away from the construction site”.

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