Denmark bypassed US sanctions against Nord stream 2»

Why does Copenhagen suddenly issue a permit to operate a Russian gas pipeline when 130 km of pipes in Danish waters have not yet been laid?

Apparently, Denmark is trying to play ahead of the curve – to have time to issue a permit for the operation of the still unfinished Nord stream 2 before the United States takes sanctions against the project, according to Igor Yushkov, an expert at The financial University under the government of the Russian Federation, an expert at the national energy security Fund. As you know, in the corridors of the White house, several bills are being considered at once, suggesting sanctions against Nord stream 2. These sanctions may impose restrictions not only on the construction of the pipe, but also on its operation.

If the US imposes sanctions and the pipeline is completed, Copenhagen will face a dilemma. It will have to choose whose laws to enforce – the us sanctions act, which prohibits the operation of the pipe, or its own laws, according to which the Danish regulator cannot refuse to issue an operating permit after the construction permit is issued.

By and large, the operation permit is already a formality. The most important thing is to get a document authorizing construction, because the issue of ecology and safety arises at this stage. At the operational stage, safety risks (for example, for cod spawning) are minimal. If properly operated, the finished gas pipeline at the bottom of the sea does not harm the environment.

In fact, no one expects such documents from other countries, such as Sweden and Finland (through whose waters the gas pipeline also passes). In these countries, the construction permit already included an operating permit. It is the Danish legislation that is so special that it required a separate permit to operate the pipe.

"I would like to say that Denmark could not but issue this operating permit. But there was already a precedent when it changed its legislation to delay the issuance of a construction permit. Therefore, I do not rule out that the position of Denmark was influenced by trump's statement that he would very much like to get Greenland for rent. It may be a coincidence, but it was only after these words that Denmark issued a construction permit for Nord stream 2. At the same time, trump's visit to Denmark was canceled," says Konstantin Simonov, head Of the national energy security Fund.

Denmark does not have the strength to resist the United States, so it decided to find a way out using such a loophole. "The position of Denmark is that we are just a small country that does not want to solve anything. Let's figure out the Russia – US – Germany triangle for yourself. And we do not want to fall under sanctions, on the one hand, and under a lawsuit from Gazprom for violating its own laws, on the other," Yushkov believes.

The DEA notes that the permit is issued in accordance with Danish law, as well as in accordance with the UN Convention on the law of the sea, according to which Denmark is obliged to allow the construction and operation of transit pipelines. As for the conditions put forward by Denmark, they do not exactly relate to politics, but rather to standard technical regulations and environmental safety, Simonov points out.

Those who disagree with the decision of the Danish Agency have four weeks to appeal, that is, until October 28, 2020. After that, Nord Stream 2 will have all the necessary operating permits from the countries that the pipeline passes through. It remains only to finish it.

And this is exactly the situation that is unclear. In August there were no procedural restrictions on the resumption of laying the pipe. And the weather conditions were favorable. By that time, the technical issue was also resolved – Denmark made changes to the construction permit, giving the go-ahead to work at sea for vessels with anchor positioning. It was assumed that this was made specifically for the pipe-laying barge "Fortuna". Moreover, it has been standing for a long time in the German port of Mukran, where pipes are stored for laying. "Fortuna "and" Akademik Chersky " could take on one thread of pipe and quickly lay the pipes (50 km of pipes of one thread and 70 km of pipes of another thread).

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