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Denmark has choice 'between reason & politics' when it comes to Nord Stream 2 - Sputnik

Gasoil News - Published on Tue, 14 Aug 2018

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Sputnik reported that Nord Stream 2 AG is considering a new route for the portion of its Baltic Sea pipeline project which runs through Denmark, the last country along the prospective pipeline's path to refuse to grant its permission for construction. Sputnik gets to the bottom of what's really behind Copenhagen's resistance, and how it will affect the energy project.

Nord Stream 2 AG formally submitted an application and environmental impact assessment report to Denmark's Energy Agency requesting permission to build through the country's 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone northwest of Bornholm, thus bypassing Danish territorial waters (i.e. waters 12 nautical miles off the country's coast).

A Danish Energy Agency spokesperson confirmed to Russian media that they have received the application, but could not say any more at this stage.

A Nord Stream 2 Denmark spokesperson told Sputnik that the company and its shareholders were prepared to pay the additional costs associated with the alternative route, and that Nord Stream 2 would not be withdrawing its application with the original route applied for in April 2017.

Resistance May Be Futile
Independent energy expert Mr Nikolai Khrenkov says that the route alteration is not critical.

Mr Khrenkov said that "Even earlier, when Denmark was saying that they would be taking their time considering whether or not to allow construction, it was noted that the consent or lack of consent from Denmark would not be critical, because it's possible to bypass Denmark's waters altogether and still lay the pipeline."

While admitting that, of course, building through Denmark's territorial waters would be more convenient, given that the first Nord Stream pipeline does so, Khrenkov nevertheless emphasized that the company has already assured investors that the cost would not significantly affect the project's total cost (currently estimated at EUR 9.5 billion.

For his part, Alexei Grivach, director general for gas issues at Russia's National Energy Security Fund, said that Copenhagen's foot-dragging on Nord Stream 2 was not fitting of a European state which, thanks to external pressure, seems "ready to neglect both its own interests and those of its close neighbors, and simply to engage in sabotage."

Geopolitics vs. Economics
Copenhagen first hinted that it might reject Nord Stream 2's construction in November 2017, when the Danish government made amendments to legislation allowing the country to reject the construction of pipelines through Danish territorial waters 'for security reasons' pertaining to Denmark, the EU and NATO. The amendments modified the originally acceptable reasons for refusal, which were tied exclusively to environmental considerations.

Nord Stream 2 faces intense opposition from Washington, which has plans to push through the export its own liquefied natural gas to Europe, notwithstanding its expense compared with Russian pipeline gas.

Although, supported by Western Europeans, who see it as a way to "ensure the unfettered supply" of natural gas, Nord Stream 2 has faced stiff resistance from some Eastern European countries, particularly Poland and Ukraine, with Kiev facing the prospect of losing its gas transit income once Nord Stream 2 goes online. On Friday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called Nord Stream 2 a "Trojan Horse of the Kremlin." Moscow, Berlin, and other Western European states have, on the contrary, consistently insisted that the project is a commercial one.

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Posted By : Nanda Koijam on Tue, 14 Aug 2018
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