Nord Stream 2 pipeline gets new construction permit from Germany

Berlin, Jan 16 (IANS) Construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea in German territorial waters can resume immediately, the country’s Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) said in a statement issued here.

The laying of pipelines by an anchor-positioned vessel on the remaining 30 km stretch in Germany’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) has now been approved, the BSH said in the statement on Friday.

The previous permit did not allow work to resume until the end of May, reports Xinhua news agency.

Construction of the Baltic Sea pipeline was suspended last year after the US imposed sanctions, a decision that was criticised by Germany as well as the European Union.

Danish authorities had already given the go-ahead for construction to continue from January 15.

Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has reiterated his desire to speak about the controversial pipeline project with the next US administration of President-elect Joe Biden.

“As soon as the new administration is in office, we also want to talk about this issue with our colleagues in Washington,” Maas told the German news agency (dpa) on Friday.

He described the US agreement to consult at government level before new sanctions were imposed as a “positive decision”.

To protect sea birds, construction work was limited to a maximum of 30 days per construction phase, and a break of at least 14 days before the next construction phase started was also ordered, according to the BSH.

In total, around 150 km of the pipeline are still not completed, of which around 30 km lie in German territorial waters.

“We have permission from the Danish Energy Agency to start work on Friday. However, this does not mean that we will also resume laying pipes on Friday,” a spokesperson of Nord Stream 2 AG told the German business newspaper Handelsblatt.

The company would rather “first check the technical equipment”.

The pipeline is designed to transport natural gas from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea.

The 1,230 km pipeline can deliver 55 billion cubic metres of gas per year.

–IANS
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