Russia: Go-ahead for Nord Stream 2 pipeline construction

Gazprom’s subsidiary Nord Stream 2 AG has received all necessary permits for the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in Russia.

Pipe delivery to Koverhar; Source: © Nord Stream 2 - Axel Schmidt
Pipe delivery to Koverhar; Source: © Nord Stream 2 – Axel Schmidt

Nord Stream 2 AG, a developer of the pipeline designed to supply Russian natural gas to the EU market through the Baltic Sea, said on Tuesday that it had received a permit for the installation of an underwater pipeline in the territorial sea of the Russian Federation.

The permit has been issued by Russia’s Federal Agency for the Supervision of Natural Resources Use (Rosprirodnadzor) in accordance with the established procedure. The permit covers a section of approximately 114 kilometers in the Russian territorial sea.

According to the company, practical implementation of the project under the terms of the newly issued permit will begin shortly, taking into account environmental aspects and in line with the conclusion of the State Environmental Expert Review and the Water Use License.

The Ministry of Construction and Utilities previously issued a construction permit for the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline on Russian territory.

All the permits necessary for construction of the Russian section of the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline have now been received.

Henning Kothe, the chief project officer at Nord Stream 2, said: “We are glad to announce that the necessary construction permits in Russia have been granted, meaning that the Nord Stream 2 project is developing according to the planned schedule. We will further rely on collaboration with the countries involved to ensure the project is implemented in a timely and efficient manner.”

The company added that the scheduled work in Russia, in line with the received permit, will be launched in 2018, as planned.

So far, Russia, Germany, Finland, and Sweden have granted all the permits necessary for construction of the planned pipeline within their jurisdictions.

The national permitting procedure in Denmark is ongoing with Nord Stream handing in an alternative route option for the pipeline to the Danish authorities last week.

As for the pipeline, Nord Stream 2 involves two parallel 48 inch lines, roughly 1,200 km, each starting from south-west of St. Petersburg and ending at German coast, Greifswald.

The natural gas pipelines will have the capacity to transport 55 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Russian gas a year to the EU, for at least 50 years.

The project has been seen by some as a threat to the EU energy security, making the union vulnerable to reliance on Russian gas. To alleviate similar concerns, the EU has been working on increasing imports of LNG from the U.S.

EU diversifying supply

In a statement last week the European Commission said that since the arrival of the first U.S. LNG carrier in the Portuguese port of Sines April 2016 and today, EU imports of liquefied natural gas from the U.S. have increased from zero to 2.8 billion cubic meters.

In their Joint Statement of July 25, in Washington D.C., European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to strengthen EU-U.S. strategic cooperation with respect to energy.

“In this context, the European Union would import more liquefied natural gas from the United States to diversify and render its energy supply more secure. The EU and the U.S. will, therefore, work to facilitate trade in liquefied natural gas,” the European Commission’s statement reads.

Meanwhile, the Italian oilfield services provider Saipem has started preparatory works for future pipelaying for the Nord Stream 2 project.

The pipelay barge Castoro 10 late in July assumed its starting position with the help of its eight anchors in the shallow waters of Lubmin, Germany. During operations, pipe segments are welded together on board the vessel and pulled ashore by a high-performance winch to connect the landfall facilities of Nord Stream 2 with the new offshore pipeline.

Gazprom has recently said the pipeline should begin operations before the end of 2019.

Offshore Energy Today Staff