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Defying US sanctions, EU lawmakers, Russian ship lays Nord Stream 2 pipe in Danish Waters

Prep work for gas line ignites MEP opposition

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Despite US sanctions and a European Parliament resolution, Russian pipe-laying ship Fortuna has started work in Danish waters ahead of the resumption of construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline which would bring Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

“The laybarge Fortuna has started works in the construction corridor in the Danish EEZ, ahead of the resumption of the Nord Stream 2 construction. All works are performed in line with relevant permits,” a spokesman for Nord Stream 2 told New Europe on January 25.

He referred to the notice to mariners by the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA). “The authorities announced construction works from January 15 onwards, including preparatory works and tests before pipelay works start,” he said.

MEPs passed a resolution on January 21 calling on the EU to immediately stop the completion of Nord Stream 2. MEPs also underline that the EU should no longer be a welcoming place for Russian wealth of unclear origin,” the European Parliament said in a press release.

With a view to the new administration in Washington, MEPs stressed that the EU should use this momentum to strengthen transatlantic unity in protecting democracy and fundamental values against authoritarian regimes.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is already facing US sanctions under its Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). Washington has said that the Nord Stream 2 would make Europe more dependent on Russian gas, undermining EU energy security. At the same time, however, the US is trying to promote sales of its own liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Experts say the last phase of the project will continue to be difficult, at a political level rather than technical. But all engineering is in place and the issue with certification and insurance can be resolved.

Nord Stream 2 resumed pipelay works on December 11, 2020 as announced in the Notice to Mariners by the German Waterways & Shipping Authority Stralsund. The Russian pipe-laying vessel Fortuna laid a 2.6-km section of the pipeline in the German Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). These planned construction works were completed in December 2020 and were implemented in full compliance with existing permits, the Nord Stream spokesperson said.

He added that a total of over 2,300 kilometres out of approximately 2,460 kilometres, or 94% of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline have been laid. Approximately 148 kilometres or 6% are left. There are approximately 120 kilometres in Danish waters and approximately 28 kilometres in German waters to be laid.

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Co-founder / Director of Energy & Climate Policy and Security at NE Global Media

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