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Denmark gives Nord Stream 2 the green light to restart pipeline work

07 July 2020

On July 6, Denmark gave the Nord Stream 2 project permission to complete the final part of the gas pipeline in Danish waters. The long-delayed project had been halted in December 2019 after the US placed sanctions on companies which were going to supply pipe-laying vessels for the final 120-km stretch of pipeline off Denmark.

© Nord Stream 2 / Axel Schmidt.
© Nord Stream 2 / Axel Schmidt.

The US has been highly critical of Nord Stream 2 since its inception, saying that it increases Europe’s reliance on Russian gas imports and was created to damage Ukraine by reducing the amount of gas shipped through the country. 
The €9.5bn project, started by Russian state gas firm Gazprom and five western energy companies, Uniper, Wintershall, Shell, OMV and Engie, was almost complete before the US-imposed sanctions forced pipe-laying company Allseas to halt operations and leave the project. The 1,230-kilometre pipeline enters the territorial waters of Finland, Sweden and Denmark with around 120-kilometres of pipeline still needing to be installed in Danish waters.
The US sanctions targeted companies such as Allseas which were providing the Nord Stream 2 project with technologically advance pipe-laying vessels that use self-positioning technology. To enable work to continue and to avoid the sanctions, the Danish Energy Agency said on July 6 that Nord Stream 2 could instead use less technologically advanced vessels with anchors to install the remaining length of pipeline.
According to Reuters news agency, Nord Stream 2 had made a request in June for Denmark to allow the change in pipe-laying vessels. A spokesperson for the project told Reuters that the consortium welcomed the decision but did not make an announcement about what type of vessel would be used or when the remaining pipeline would be installed.

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