Gazprom has very little time left to launch the project on time.
The submission says that Russia may disrupt the timing of the start of gas supplies to European countries if it does not receive a construction permit from the Danish authorities in August. The publication notes that the launch of the second line of the Russian gas pipeline should coincide with the end of the current contract for the transit of gas through Ukraine – December 31, 2019.
- If in the next few weeks we do not get approval from the Danes, we will not be able to meet the deadline, – the newspaper quotes an unnamed high-level source close to the project operator, Nord Stream AG. The second source called August critical for the project.
- It’s almost August, and it makes you worry if you don’t panic, – he said.
RBC recalls the statement made earlier by the head of Austrian OMV, which is one of Gazprom’s main partners in gas pipeline construction, Rainer Seele, stating that the delay in the construction of Nord Stream-2 will lead to higher gas prices in Europe. He also stressed that it would take one or two months to lay the pipeline through the waters of Denmark.
Gazprom wants to enter into a temporary transit agreement before the launch of “flows”.
Recall that Nord Stream AG received national permits from almost all countries in whose waters it is planned to pave (Russia, Germany, Finland, Sweden). Denmark remains the only country that has not yet agreed the route.
Currently, Copenhagen continues to consider three applications for different routes at once, the last of which was filed in April 2019 and involves the laying of pipes in the exclusive economic zone of Denmark, south of Bornholm. According to two previously filed applications, the pipeline must pass in the Danish territorial waters south of Bornholm and in its exclusive economic zone north-west of this island.
According to the head of the press service of the Energy Agency of Denmark (DEA), which should agree on the laying of the gas pipeline, Ture Falbe-Hansen, the third option is the most acceptable. He also said that the delay was not due to political reasons, but was caused by concerns over the ecology of the Baltic Sea.
On June 7, the head of Gazprom, Alexey Miller, stated that the actual duration of the construction of the Nord Stream -2 gas pipeline section in the Danish section is a maximum of five weeks. At the end of June, he assured that the pipeline would be completed by the end of 2019. However, earlier the head of the Russian concern repeatedly admitted that the construction of the gas pipeline could be delayed, but always stressed that the delay would be insignificant.
What caused the delay with the answer from Denmark? Is this a deliberate attempt to disrupt pipeline launch on time? Can Moscow somehow influence Copenhagen? And is it possible to agree on the remaining weeks?
- In Denmark, now the new government, which is only up to date, – explains Assistant Professor of the Department of Foreign Regional Studies and Foreign Policy of the RSUH, Vadim Trukhachev – Therefore, even on this basis, it is unlikely that an agreement can be reached in the planned terms.
– Why is Denmark stubborn? What is its interest? It’s all about Russophobia?
- Denmark is the most pro-American country of Western Europe, moreover, independently satisfying its needs for oil and gas. In addition, with Germany, its historically is not the most simple relationship. There are enough prejudices towards Russia too. Remember where was the mother of Nicholas II from. Given that many Danes see Russia as a successor to the USSR, and there is a monarchy in Denmark itself, even this can play a role.
– The position of Denmark is now affecting the supply of gas to Europe. It turns out that they “substitute” the European Union.
- Denmark provides itself with oil and gas. In addition, it is a “soft euro skeptic”. The Danes do not introduce the euro, and their Greenland and Faroe Islands are not part of the EU (although Denmark itself is included). So the stories about responsibility to the European Union will not affect them.
– What if the agreement fails? Is it really a disruption of gas supplies through the Nord Stream II?
– I think, while the former scheme will work. More run on the “Nord Stream-1” and the Belarusian pipe. Although Russia will suffer some losses, of course, and European buyers will inconvenience.
- Did Moscow understand that they would have to face such problems when the project was thought? Did you expect problems from Denmark?
Did they prepare “plan B”?
- Denmark is a stably pro-American country that does not have close ties with Russia and has no sympathy for us. This manifested itself repeatedly, and this factor was certainly taken into account. “Plan B” – to bypass the Danish island of Bornholm. But it will require extra time and money.
- What can Moscow offer Copenhagen to change its position?
- We have limited opportunities to influence Denmark. You can offer it a share in this project, or it is limited to allow Danish companies to our fields. Their own are exhausted, so that interest may arise here.
- Financial Times writes that even if permission is received in August, any additional delays may become critical for the project. What other delays may occur? What other tools remain in the arsenal of opponents of the pipeline?
- Probably, they will push Ukraine to a new scandal. Or they will try to convince Finland and Sweden, whose waters, unlike Danish ones, cannot get around the pipe. Finally, they can impose sanctions against its participants, and make trouble at the EU level through the mouth of the Poles or Balts.
- By the way, about Ukraine, will there be a new contract with it? Earlier, Gazprom put forward the initiative to conclude a temporary contract for a year, but Kiev wants a contract for decades, and Europe is in solidarity with it. Why by the way?
- I will not say yet. It depends on Zelensky, and on his American and German “advisers”. As for Europe, it just needs stability and certainty in this matter. Europeans do not like whims and suspense.