Gazprom, European Partners Confident Denmark Will Approve Nord Stream 2

The Russian-led Nord Stream 2 company, founded by Gazprom and its European partners investing in the controversial pipeline, expects to receive approval from Danish authorities for a 180-km stretch of the pipeline under the Baltic Sea in time to finish the pipeline by the end of 2019 as planned, a spokesman said on Monday, according to Reuters.

Nord Stream 2 AG spokesman Jens Mueller said there was “good reason” to believe Danish authorities would process a second proposal submitted by the project in August 2018 within eight to 12 months, allowing the pipeline to be finished on schedule.

“There is good reason to assume that we will receive this approval at a time point when we can complete this construction in an uncomplicated manner,” Mueller said.

Even if the Danes acted late in the year, the company could bring in additional ships to lay the pipeline, Mueller said, noting that two ships now working off the coast of Sweden were completing about 6 km (3.7 miles) a day. At that rate, the Danish segment could be completed in a month, he said.

The 11 billion euro ($12 billion) Nord Stream 2 project is led by Russian state energy firm Gazprom, with some 50 percent of the funding provided by Germany’s Uniper and BASF’s Wintershall unit, Anglo-Dutch firm Shell, Austria’s OMV and France’s Engie.

The 1,225 km pipeline, already under construction, has come under fire from the United States, and a number of eastern European, Nordic and Baltic Sea countries who fear it will increase EU reliance on Moscow.

The pipeline, which would carry gas straight to Germany under the Baltic Sea, has also been criticized in some quarters because it would deprive Ukraine of lucrative gas transit fees.

Four countries – Finland, Sweden, Germany and Russia – have approved the pipeline’s construction, but Denmark has been holding out. Nord Stream 2 in August 2018 proposed an alternate route that would route the pipeline through Danish exclusive economic zone waters, but avoid its territorial waters.

Mueller also played down the risk that Washington could impose sanctions against companies involved under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) law.