Denmark’s permission to build the Nord Stream-2 with new vessels has deprived the latter of the sanctions that are being prepared for the US project. About this in an interview with the FBA “Economics Today” said the head of special projects of the National Energy Security Fund Alexander Perov.
The Danish Energy Agency (DEA) has allowed Nord Stream 2 AG to complete the construction of Nord Stream-2 in its waters using pipe-laying vessels with anchor positioning. The regulator clarified that the unfinished part of the pipeline in Danish waters is located outside the area where bottom trawl and anchorage are not recommended, as well as work on the seabed due to the risk posed by chemical weapons flooded many decades ago.
Russia sent permission to use the new type of vessel to Copenhagen in June. “Changes in resolution mean that the company can use pipe layers with anchors both independently and in combination with pipe layers with a dynamic positioning system,” the DEA said in a statement. Now, new vessels can be used both separately and in combination with ships equipped with a dynamic positioning system.
“Of course, such a quick response from the Danish regulator, and even more so, a positive response to the request of the Russian side, is surprising,” Perov notes. EU regulations: This time, many also expected the DEA to drag out a response for many months, allowing the US to prepare and implement new sanctions on the project.
However, Denmark acted unexpectedly. And here are just two explanations for this behavior. It is possible that Germany has put pressure on Copenhagen, which has recently been actively resisting US sanctions and is even preparing an economic response to them, that is, is doing everything to implement Nord Stream-2. Or, Washington’s open pressure and interference in European affairs was so displeasing for all EU members that the Danish authorities went against Washington and supported the project. “
Positioning will determine the construction time
Denmark initially prohibited the use of ships with anchor positioning, as they could touch unexploded ordnance at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. This is an outdated system that ships have used to drill offshore wells since the 1950s. It implies the spread of several anchors by the vessel at a characteristic distance in different directions, after which the motors on the bottom pull the cables, providing the vessel stability when performing work. These systems are used for work at shallow depths – up to 300 meters.
A more modern dynamic positioning system that allows you to work at any depth. She holds the ship at the right point with high accuracy – through the use of ship propulsion and thrusters. In fact, this is automatic control – the computer turns on these or those engines in order to keep it in place or to conduct it at a given rate. The Danish section of Nord Stream-2 will pass at a depth of up to 200 meters, where an anchor system is sufficient.
“Initially, Gazprom had a vessel with dynamic positioning – the Akademik Chersky pipe layer. But it works quite slowly, so Russia’s decision to connect an“ assistant ”to it is logical. The Fortuna pipe-laying barge is equipped only with an anchor positioning system, which is why it was needed permission of Denmark to include it in the project Now, most likely, the ships will go towards each other on the unfinished section.
And with this approach, the construction of the underwater part of the pipeline can be completed by the planned date – the end of 2020. It is clear that work will not begin right now – there are environmental requirements related to the spawning period of fish in the Baltic Sea. In addition, Fortuna needs to be removed from the ownership of Gazprom’s structures, as has already been done with Academician Chersky. This will minimize Gazprom’s chances of being subject to US sanctions, “Perov emphasizes.
Sanctions no longer threaten the project
Nord Stream-2 involves the construction of two pipelines from the Russian coast through the Baltic Sea to Germany. The United States is actively opposing the project, promoting its liquefied natural gas in the EU, as well as Ukraine and several European countries. Pipe-laying work stopped after the United States adopted the defense budget late last year. It included sanctions against companies involved in the construction of the pipeline.