The Danish Energy Agency has granted permission to lay the Nord Stream 2 project's pipes through the waters of Denmark. This was announced by the agency itself.
This announcement stipulates the removal of the last major hurdle for the construction of the controversial pipeline that will connect Russia and Germany – bypassing Ukraine.
A 147-km section of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has been permitted to be built southeast of the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea, in the Danish economic zone.
When finalized, Nord Stream 2 will allow Gazprom to supply Europe with gas without using the transit capacity of the Ukrainian gas transportation system. Transit of Russian gas brings Ukraine up to $3 billion annually. The contract on gas transition between Russia and Ukraine expires on December 31. The two countries have not yet signed a new transit contract.
Russia's 1,230 km-long pipeline will lie through the waters of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Germany, and Denmark. More than 87% of the Nord Stream 2 construction has already been completed. Danish authorities have been reviewing the request to construct on their territory since April 2017.
The CEO of Ukraine's Naftogaz company Andriy Kobolev, in response to the news, has called on the West to impose sanctions on the pipeline.
"Denmark’s strong stand has delayed the project for some time, but geopolitical weapons cannot be stopped by tools that are regulated by trade relations," Kobolev wrote on Facebook. "An effective way to counter-act aggression in today's world is sanctions by major Western countries."
He also stressed that Ukraine should continue reforming its gas market and implementing European energy legislation.
Germany said that Nord Stream 2 will only be launched if Gazprom also continues to transit gas through Ukraine. "We support trilateral negotiations to maintain such gas transit," German government's spokesperson Steffen Seibert was quoted by Interfax agency as saying to journalists in Berlin. Germany is one of the biggest supporters of the construction of Nord Stream 2 pipeline.