NORD STREAM 2 – DENMARK ALLOWS THE FINAL GO AHEAD


25/12/2020




Robert HARNEIS -TDO- (FRANCE)- Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is to resume pipelaying work in Danish waters 15 January, according to a notice to sea-farers published 22 January by the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA).

According to the notice, a section to the southwest of the Danish island of Bornholm up to the maritime border with Germany will be laid by the Russian pipelaying vessel, the Fortuna, currently working on the remaining section in German waters -- the first work on laying the pipeline since December 2019.

The DMA notice said the Fortuna would lay the two-string pipeline sections and be accompanied by the construction vessels Baltic Explorer and Murman.

As well as laying the short German section, the Fortuna had already been used before to lay part of Nord Stream 2 in Russian waters.

It is a vessel that uses anchors, unlike Russia's Akademik Cherskiy pipelayer, which has dynamic positioning capabilities and was expected to complete the work.

Vessels using anchors are typically slower at laying pipe than those with dynamic positioning capabilities.

Nord Stream 2 had asked -- as a precautionary measure -- for an amendment to its Danish pipelaying permit to allow the potential use of pipelaying ships that use anchors for positioning.

According to the original Danish permit from October 2021, pipelaying ships, such as the Pioneering Spirit used by Switzerland-based Allseas to lay much of the pipeline before the US sanctions forced it to halt work, should have dynamic- or self-positioning capabilities.

The Akademik Cherskiy has such capabilities, but there have been question marks about whether it had undergone sufficient upgrade work to be able to lay the remaining pipeline.

Nord Stream 2 remains unfinished, with a little over 150 km left to lay in German and Danish waters.

Without Nord Stream 2, Russia's Gazprom would have had to rely on the transit of gas via Ukraine in much larger volumes than it intended, when it signed a five-year deal at the end of last year.

Despite obstruction by the United States, experts are predicting that the pipelaying will now be completed in mid-March. They predict a start-up date of Q2 2021 with commissioning taking two months plus a lengthy ramp-up period, with the pipeline coming to full capacity only in Q4 2021.

There have been fears that the intense pressure from Washington would cause the German government to cave in and give up the project.


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