Denmark has given the final approval to the construction of the Baltic Pipeline set to bring Norwegian natural gas to Poland via Danish waters, Gazeta.ru reports.
The move comes as Copenhagen continues to delay the approval of the Russia-EU Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
A statement on the project website hails the move as an “important step” that finalizes the obtaining of “major permits for the project.”
The approval includes permission to build the pipeline along the bottom of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.
The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, designed to deliver natural gas from Russia to the European Union, is also to be laid in Baltic waters.
However, the Russian project is still awaiting approval from the Danish authorities to continue pipe laying works in the country’s waters. Denmark’s go-ahead is the final obstacle facing Nord Stream 2, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.
The Baltic Pipe, with an annual capacity of 10 billion cubic meters of gas, is set to be completed by 2022. Warsaw earlier stressed that the project was a way to reduce its dependence on Russian gas supplies, combined with American “freedom gas” – imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the U.S.
Nord Stream 2, spanning from the Russian coast to Germany, will pump 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year to European customers. While other pipelines are said to bring more security to the European energy market, the Russia-led project has been repeatedly demonized by US lawmakers and some European opponents, including Poland.
Denmark has not openly criticized the project, but the Nord Stream 2 company has already accused the country of “a deliberate attempt” to delay the project’s completion. However, even if Copenhagen fails to approve the construction, the alternative route that would bypass Danish waters would be just 34 kilometers longer than the original one.