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December 24, 2020

Nord Stream 2 consortium to commence gas pipeline work from January 2021

The Russia-led Nord Stream 2 consortium is expected to commence laying gas pipes in the Danish waters from 15 January 2021.

By Shalini Nair

The Russia-led Nord Stream 2 consortium is expected to commence laying gas pipes in the Danish waters from 15 January 2021.

Work on the almost €10bn pipeline resumed in the German zone earlier in December, following a year-long construction suspension due to the threat of US sanctions.

The Nord Stream 2 project is expected to double the current undersea Nord Stream gas pipeline capacity from Russia to Germany.

However, this project has become an issue of dispute between the US and Russia, with Washington seeking to reduce dependence of European nations for Russian energy. The US also intends to boost sales of its own LNG to Europe.

According to the measures, which were signed off by US President Donald Trump last year, asset freezes and visa restrictions would be imposed on firms involved in the construction of the pipeline.

In a notification issued by the Danish Maritime Authority on 22 December, the work on laying of pipes on the Baltic Sea for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project  will commence from 15 January 2021.

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Fortuna vessel will carry out the work of laying pipes, and will also be helped by construction vessels Baltic Explorer and Murman besides other vessels.

The Fortuna vessel is currently laying pipes in the shallow waters of the German zone.

The Nord Stream 2 consortium is led by Russian gas major Gazprom. The other partners in this project are BASF’s Wintershall Dea, Germany’s Uniper, Austria’s OMV, Anglo-Dutch oil major Shell, and French energy company Engie.

More than 90% of the project is already complete. This consortium is yet to lay more than 100km of pipeline.

In December 2019, Allseas stopped the pipe-laying work following the threat of US sanctions, which ultimately left Moscow to use its own resources to lay the 1,230 km pipeline.

Meanwhile, Norway’s top court upheld plans of the government regarding oil exploration in the Barents Sea and rejected the appeal filed by environmental groups, including Greenpeace, which claimed that the oil licences violated people’s right to a healthy environment.

On 22 December, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling made by the lower courts.

In their argument, the campaigners stated that the 2015-2016 oil licensing round, which gave awards to Equinor and others, had violated the constitution that guarantees the right to a healthy environment.

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