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Nord Stream 2 pipeline stalls in Baltic

Thu 18 Apr 2019 by John Snyder

Nord Stream 2 pipeline stalls in Baltic
Offshore construction vessel Fortitude supporting pipe-laying operations for the Nord Stream 2 project image: Allseas Group

Nord Stream 2 AG has filed its third permit application with the Danish Energy Agency to allow it to lay a transit pipeline south of the island of Bornholm in Danish territorial waters.  

One of the most controversial energy projects in Europe, Nord Stream 2 is a 1,200-km pipeline being laid in the Baltic Sea to bring more Russian natural gas to the European Union via Germany. The pipeline has come under intense political pressure from the US, with President Trump calling it “horrific,” saying that it is not in the best interests of energy security in Europe.

About 1,000 km of the pipeline has been laid in the Baltic Sea by Switzerland-based Allseas Group. Nord Stream 2 represents the largest pipeline installation scope in Allseas’ history. To support the Nord Stream 2 project, Allseas deployed the world’s largest construction vessel Pioneering Spirit, pipelay vessels Solitaire and Audacia, specialised supply vessel Calamity Jane and offshore construction vessels Fortitude and Oceanic.

Nord Stream 2 AG has been clearly frustrated by delays in the permitting process. It said in a statement that it was “incomprehensible why there has still been no decision” from the Danish Energy Agency on its two previous applications and that asking for a third “can only be seen as a deliberate attempt to delay the project’s completion.” The pipeline is scheduled for completion before the end of the year.

If completed, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would handle gas currently being piped from Russia through Ukraine under a contract between Gazprom and Ukraine’s Naftogas which is due to expire at the end of the year.

Completion of the pipeline would have an impact on LNG imports into the European Union. If the pipeline is completed, there would be less demand for importing LNG, lowering the price paid. As a result, there would be less demand for LNG shipped from the US.

Besides Russia’s Gazprom, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is being backed by France’s Engie, Anglo-Dutch energy giant Shell, Austria’s OMV and Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall.

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