A pipelayer vessel has started work in Danish waters ahead of the resumption of construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline regardless of the pressure from the United States and European Union to stop it.
The project, designed to boost Russian gas supplies to Europe and bypass Ukraine, has met resistance from the United States which wants to sell its own sea-borne liquefied natural gas to the European Union and cut its reliance on energy supplies from Moscow.
Last week, the United States imposed sanctions against the pipelayer Fortuna and its owner KVT-RUS as the Trump administration sought to raise pressure on the project on its last full day in office. According to Reuters, their assets are blocked, and U.S. citizens are generally prohibited from dealing with them.
European Union lawmakers passed a resolution last Thursday calling for the bloc to stop the completion of the Nord Stream 2 in response to the arrest of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
“The laybarge Fortuna has started works in the construction corridor in the Danish EEZ, ahead of the resumption of the Nord Stream 2 construction. All works are performed in line with relevant permits”, Nord Stream 2 AG – the consortium operating the pipeline – told Reuters.
Nord Stream 2 also cited a Danish Maritime Authority notice about resuming work on 15 January. The group had earlier said activities would include preparatory work and tests before pipe-laying started.
The construction of the pipeline, which would double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream link from Russia to Germany, was suspended in December 2019 following a threat of sanctions from the United States and withdrawal of pipe-laying company, Allseas. Work resumed for a brief period in last month on a 2.6-kilometre stretch in German waters.
It is worth noting that more than 90 per cent of the project, led by Russian gas giant Gazprom, has been already completed.
Gazprom’s partners in the project, estimated to cost $11.5 billion, are Uniper, Wintershall Dea, Shell, OMV, and Engie.