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Copenhagen endorsed the pipeline alternative Polish instead of Russian

Копенгаген одобрил альтернативный польский газопровод вместо российского

The office for the protection of the environment of Denmark (DEPA) has given final approval to the project of a gas pipeline “Baltic pipe” on the territory of the Kingdom. “Baltic pipe” (Baltic Pipe) is a future pipeline that would run between Denmark and Poland, it will be connected to Norwegian gas transport network.

The pipe will deliver up to 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year from Norway through Denmark to Poland and other European countries, as well as to transport gas from Poland to Denmark and Sweden. The cost of construction is estimated at 1.6−2.1 billion euros, the costs will be shared equally, the company Gaz-System and Energinet. The input of the pipeline “Baltic pipe” is scheduled for October 2022.

Initially the permission for laying pipe by the Danish authorities issued 12 Jul. However, since there were five complaints, which the Agency considered. However, this process was completed fairly quickly, and officials stressed that the decision on the laying of pipe and the final revision or not subject to appeal.

Earlier, the Polish and Danish authorities have repeatedly called “Baltic pipe” one of the important elements of energy security of the European Union, and Warsaw has regularly opposed the project “Northern stream-2”, although the capacity of the last five times (55 billion cubic meters per year).

It is interesting in this story is the speed with which Danish officials have given permission for the laying of the “Baltic pipe”, especially compared to the “Nord stream-2”, the route of which is still pending. Denmark has not yet given approval for the laying of the pipe in its exclusive area. Consideration of the environmental Department are already three routes, but the final decision is still there. It should be noted that according to European law, the Copenhagen can continue to lay gas pipeline in its economic zone, but the time for consideration of the application is not actually limited than the Danes are.

According to experts, from-for delays of Denmark, the delay in the opening of the “Nord stream-2” can be up to 8 months and cost an additional $ 660 million euros.

The paradoxical position of Copenhagen that he himself in the near future will be more dependent on Russian gas. November 1 will stop the production of gas in the country’s largest field, tyra, whose reserves are estimated at 35 billion.

Drilling platforms will be dismantled due to sagging of the seabed, which makes production unsafe. It is planned to build new platforms, but to upgrade the infrastructure will require approximately 21 million kroons (3.1 million dollars) and for about three years. Presumably, production will resume in July 2022-th.

To offset production, Denmark will have to buy gas from Germany, and to the North of this country, he comes mainly on the first “Nord stream”. The fact is that Copenhagen will buy Russian gas, and therefore the increase in supply is in its best interests.

Theoretically, too much delay in the construction of “Nord stream-2” can still be avoided if the Danes will change its position and stop stalling. As told in mid-September, the head of “Gazprom” Alexey Miller, the pipeline is ready to 81%.

“Today, even the Rubicon fail for one simple reason that the Danish section is short and construction time there are only about five weeks,” he said.

By the way, the “Baltic pipe” could become another lever of pressure on Copenhagen to “Gazprom”. The fact that its route largely coincides with the “Northern stream-2”, and since this pipeline is laid before, the Europeans will have to coordinate construction with the Russian company.

However, according to a leading expert of the national energy security Fund Igor Yushkov, even if Denmark will change its position and “Gazprom” will be able to finish the marine part of the pipeline for the New year, it still will not allow him to earn already this heating season.

— The answer to the question, why so quickly gave permission for the construction of the “Baltic pipe”, in contrast to the “Nord stream-2”, is very simple. Because in her case there is no pressure from the United States. If Copenhagen had not been a lot of pressure from Washington, of course, a construction permit to Gazprom would be issued fast enough. Just as did Germany, Finland and even Sweden.

The most significant that Denmark did not directly deny the operator “Nord stream-2”, and is simply stalling for time in order to try to disrupt the timely commissioning of the project. Although the grounds for refusal have them just yet. They consider this request from the point of view of harm to the environment. But the pipeline runs almost in the same place where all approved by the first “Nord stream”, and that the parameters are the same. To complain that this pipeline will be worse than the first, it is impossible.

So the only reason for the delay is the pressure of the Americans that are trying to proxy to block the implementation of this project.

After the issuance of the permit “Baltic pipe” the situation becomes even more complicated, because it turns out that Denmark is not at all so hard and long running bureaucratic machine, but only with respect to the “Nord stream-2”. What is the answer to “Gazprom” not issued for political reasons, it becomes even more obvious. Therefore, if the operator “Nord stream-2” is going to sue the Danish authorities because they create undue delays for the project, his position will be more reasoned.

“SP”: — the Danes are ready to bring this up?

For Danes this is a bad scenario. It’s one thing when they say: “don’t do Anything, stall for time”. And the other when I order for one pipeline to stall for time, and for another — to make all as soon as possible.

It must be very frustrating for the Danes. They show themselves as a dependent state. Even offensive the story of trump’s statement about buying Greenland did not lead to the Danes took the matter into their own hands.

“SP”: — “Gazprom” it can really make a claim against the Danish authorities?

— An official legal action against the Danes was not yet, but the St. Petersburg economic forum in July this year, held a business Breakfast arranged by the operator “Nord stream-2”. It was attended by Gerhard Schroeder, and other influential persons, and they talked about how they were going to join the battle if the Danes will continue to behave like this. They were very determined and spoke openly about the fact that they would defend their interests in court, alluding to the fact that all the costs, for example, for the failure of contracts on lease pipelayers, they are going to shift to Copenhagen.

This story is still not over. If in the near future Denmark will not issue a permit or refuse to laying pipe, “Gazprom” no choice but to sue.

“SP”: — And the situation with gas production in Denmark to hasten their decision?

— Hard to say. If they thought of themselves, how soon would approve the construction of the “Nord stream-2”. The more infrastructure is coming to Europe, the more opportunities there to get Russian gas. On the German market are produced surpluses that Denmark would be able to buy.

The situation is really quite complex. Until recently, Denmark was self-supplied gas, but they have gradually been on the decline in production volumes and they began to turn into importers. The current repair in the field tyra, which would force Denmark to switch to natural gas imports also shows that they quarrel with Gazprom, not with his hands. The idea is that this should expedite the issuance of a permit. But yet they still show yourself not the best way, in spite of all these arguments.

“SP”: — Alexey Miller said that the Rubicon has not yet passed and you can still manage to finish the construction “Nord stream-2” to the end of the year, is this true?

— Miller says that before year-end can have time to finish the marine part, because the Danish strip cut will take 3-5 weeks, and other parts is almost built. To finish the marine part of the “Nord stream-2” to the end of the year you can still catch.

But then you need a few months to conduct commissioning work. In addition, an even more important point is that within the EU not a ready infrastructure to receive gas. They had to build a land pipeline that would go to Germany through the Czech Republic to come to Austria. This pipe is absolutely not ready.

Even if “Gazprom” will finish the marine part and will hold up work, it would still not be able to load the pipeline to 55 billion cubic meters per year. Because, first, the ground infrastructure is not ready, and secondly, there is a problem with the amendments to the gas Directive of the EU, which distributes the Third energy package and Maritime pipelines.

Formally, Gazprom is not permitted to download the “Nord stream-2” at full capacity. Will have to require the exclusion from the energy package, as was the case with OPAL on the first “Nord stream”. But we see that this issue is not resolved. Recently the European court on the suit of Poland agreed that the need to abolish this exception. So the problems there are many. Clearly since January 1, the pipeline will not work, even if it will complete.

“SP”: — When it can be started?

— If the pipeline does not start work by January 1, it will not work and by 1 March. And then there’s really no rush because the road spoon for dinner. Gazprom needed the pipeline to ensure that the second part of the heating season in Europe, especially in conditions of possible absence of transit through Ukraine.

But then, in April-September, the consumption of Europeans decreases, so the question of commissioning of the pipeline will have not only important. By and large, still will it be in may or in August. If the New year and Martha will not have time, then you can quietly work to bring the pipeline at full capacity for the new heating season.

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