LONDON (ICIS)--The Danish section of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline could be in within five weeks or less, Elena Burmistrova, director general at Gazprom Export, said in a company conference on 18 June.
So far 1,441km of the pipe has been laid, which represents 68% of the total, according to Burmistrova.
Nord Stream 2 is composed of two 1,230km lines and is scheduled to come online at the end of the year.
Denmark is the last country to grant a construction permit for the section that will cross its waters, after applications for three routes from the project developer.
The Danish section will be 139-175km long, depending on which route the country grants a permit for.
The shortest route follows the existing Nord Stream pipeline and crosses Danish territorial waters southeast of the Bornholm island.
A longer option goes through the Danish exclusive economic zone northwest of the Bornholm island.
Nord Stream 2 applied for the alternative route in August 2018, after Denmark gave the ministry of foreign affairs the right to veto pipeline projects in the country’s territorial waters.
In March 2019 the Danish Energy Agency asked the developer to conduct an environment impact assessment for a third route southeast of Bornholm island, which is near to Poland.
A public consultation for this route will close on 17 July.
Denmark has not yet taken a decision on either of the first two applications made in April 2017 and August 2018.
This generated uncertainty over a possible delay in the pipe’s completion.
In the case of the second and third applications that cross the exclusive economic zone: “Denmark cannot but issue the permit otherwise that would be a violation of the UN Convention,” Burmistrova said.
The United Nations convention on the law of the sea (UNCLOS) states that in the exclusive economic zone, all countries can lay and operate sub-marine cables and pipelines.
This means Denmark could potentially delay the pipe’s completion by granting a permit too late for the scheduled completion, but cannot cancel it.
Sergey Kuznets, head of Gazprom’s legal department, said: “There is a certain accountability that sooner or later may arise.”
Investments have been made and Kuznets suggested Gazprom may take legal action in the event of further delays to the Danish permits.