Russia: Nord Stream 2 kicks off environmental assessment
Nord Stream 2 AG, a company developing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline through the Baltic Sea, has started the environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedure in Russia.
The twin pipeline, which involves two parallel 48 inch lines, will travel through the Baltic Sea, starting from the coast of Russia and reaching landfall near Greifswald in Germany. It will run roughly parallel to the existing Nord Stream pipeline.
Nord Stream 2 will pass through the territorial waters and/or the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany. Through the international permitting process, Nord Stream 2 will seek permits to construct and operate the pipeline from each of these countries.
Gazprom-controlled Nord Stream 2 company said that the relevant project documents, including the terms of reference and the EIA program, were disclosed for public discussion and consultation as the first phase of the EIA procedure.
The company also published the reports prepared by independent environmental consultants providing a comparative environmental assessment of the route options for the Russian section of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Based on the analysis of the route and landfall options, the company said the Narva Bay route in the Kingisepp District of the Leningrad Region was defined as the preferred option due to its smaller overall environmental and social impact. The final decision on the Russian landfall will be made by the Russian environmental authorities.
In the next phase, Nord Stream 2 AG will carry out the EIA in line with the terms of reference and present the draft EIA report for public consultation. The procedure is the main condition for obtaining the required permits to build the new pipeline through the Baltic Sea.
The Nord Stream 2 EIA includes analysis of hydrometeorological, geological, biological, social, economic, and other conditions, as well as nature protected areas, rare species, vulnerable habitats, and other factors. It assesses all potential environmental and social impacts from the planned activities and describes environmental protection measures.
Simon Bonnell, Head of Permitting for Nord Stream 2 AG, said: “We are aware of our responsibility to preserve the conservation value of all sensitive areas to be traversed by Nord Stream 2. Our experts are developing optimal technical solutions and a comprehensive biodiversity conservation plan. As a next step, we will discuss our proposals with the expert community and relevant authorities.”
Nord Stream 2 AG also published a transboundary environmental impact assessment report in line with the UN Convention on environmental impact assessment in a transboundary context (Espoo Convention).
This announcement comes after the consortium signed a contract for offshore pipelay work for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline with Allseas.
According to the Allseas deal, offshore pipelay works for both lines in 2018 and 2019 will be done using three pipelaying vessels – the Pioneering Spirit, Solitaire, and Audacia.