Russia-led Nord Stream 2 seeks new route to avoid Danish waters
* Denmark may pass new law that can veto original pipeline
* New application may take 12 months-Danish Energy Agency
* Russia keen to press ahead, U.S. against
(Adds comment from Nord Stream 2 and Danish Energy Agency)
COPENHAGEN, Aug 10 (Reuters) - The Russia-led Nord Stream 2
consortium said on Friday it has applied to Denmark for an
alternative gas pipeline route through the Baltic Sea that would
avoid the Nordic state's territorial waters.
Denmark is facing a dilemma on whether the project can be
built near its Baltic coast and its parliament may pass
legislation allowing it to veto the Nord Stream 2 pipeline going
through Danish territorial waters on security grounds.
Russia is keen to press ahead with the Nord Stream 2
pipeline since it has the potential to double its gas exports
under the Baltic Sea to Germany, bypassing traditional routes
through Ukraine with which it has poor relations.
The Danish government has come under fierce lobbying by
Russia, EU allies and the United States over the 9.5 billion
euro ($10.9 billion) Nord Stream 2 project led by Gazprom
and financed by five Western firms. The United States
opposes the project while some eastern European countries fear
it will make the EU a hostage to Russian gas
But Denmark does not want to act alone and has postponed a
decision on the new legislation.
Its search for a united EU stance on the proposed pipeline
is also deadlocked by divisions among member states over whether
to do more business with Moscow despite its military incursions
in Ukraine and Syria.
U.S. President Donald Trump last month accused Germany of
being a "captive" of Russia due to its energy reliance and said
it was wrong to support the Baltic gas pipeline.
A Danish veto, under new legislation allowing it to do so on
security grounds, would force Russia, which supplies about one
third of Europe's gas needs, to find a new route for the
"The recommendation of (Denmark's) ministry of foreign
affairs has been pending since January 2018. Therefore, Nord
Stream 2 decided to explore alternative routes outside of Danish
territorial waters," the Nord Stream 2 consortium said in a
PROGRESS AS PLANNED
The new application process will take about 12 months to
complete, a spokesman for the Danish Energy Agency said.
A Nord Stream 2 spokesman said the project is progressing as
planned in other countries and that it expects "no significant
delay" to the pipeline.
The Danish part of the pipeline will be installed in the
second half of 2019, he said. The alternative route would be 175
kilometres long and pass north-west of the island of Bornholm.
The consortium said it was not withdrawing an application
filed in April last year to build a parallel pipeline to the
existing Nord Stream pipeline that is already shipping Russian
natural gas to Germany.
Sweden, Finland and Germany all earlier this year issued
permits for the pipeline to run through their exclusive economic
zone, which is regulated by U.N. law.
($1 = 0.8736 euros)
(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; additional reporting by
Oksana Kobzeva in Moscow. Editing by Susan Fenton and Emelia
First Published: 2018-08-10 12:04:27
Updated 2018-08-10 14:08:16
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