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Denmark passes law that could block Nord Stream 2 pipeline

Published by , Senior Editor
World Pipelines,

Denmark passed a law yesterday that could allow it to ban Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from going through its waters on grounds of security or foreign policy, according to Reuters.

The measure amends Denmark’s regulatory framework to allow the authorities to cite security or foreign policy as reasons to block a pipeline. Previously these were not valid grounds for objection.

Denmark has been caught in a geopolitical conflict as Russia’s Gazprom and its European partners have sought to build Nord Stream 2, a giant pipeline to pump natural gas to Germany through the Baltic Sea, bypassing existing land routes over Ukraine, Poland and Belarus.

The proposed route goes through Danish waters, but the pipeline consortium is investigating an alternative route north of the Danish island Bornholm which would run in international waters and therefore not be impacted by a potential Danish ban.

Nord Stream 2 has already applied for permission in Denmark and its application is being assessed at the Danish Energy Agency. The change to the law will take effect from 1 January but apply to applications that have already been submitted.

In June, Danish Energy and Climate Minister Lars Christian Lilleholt said he expected the agency to have completed its assessment by early 2018.

Gazprom’s project has met a mixed reaction in Europe. Some EU member states, such as Poland and Lithuania, took a stand against the northern gas pipeline due to concerns over Europe potentially losing its energy independence.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has proposed amending the Third Energy Package, to which the EU Gas Directive belongs, in order to allow third-party access to gas pipelines.

This implies that regulations could be extended to future offshore sections of Nord Stream 2 pipeline. At the moment, the Third Energy Package does not apply to offshore sections of gas pipelines.

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