Denmark Giving Permit for Nord Stream 2 Construction Only Discussed by Russia, EC - Novak

BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - The issue of Denmark giving a permit to build the Nord Stream 2 pipeline through its territorial waters was discussed only in the framework of bilateral talks between Russia and the European Commission, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on the Rossiya 24 channel.
“We discussed this issue in bilateral negotiations with the European Commissioner, Mr Sefcovic. We emphasized once again that this is a commercial project, Europe is interested in it, we expressed a negative attitude towards possible sanctions on the project. Therefore, we discussed this issue only in the framework of bilateral relations", Novak said when asked if there was a deadline for obtaining the permit for Nord Stream 2 from Denmark.

Earlier in October, the head of Austrian oil and gas company OMV, Rainer Seele stated that the operator of Nord Stream 2 — a pipeline expected to bring gas from Russia to Europe via the Baltic Sea — believes that there is a good chance a construction permit from Denmark will be secured.

Russia’s energy giant Gazprom said on 1 October that 83 percent of the pipeline project was completed. It will carry an annual 1.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to Germany and further on to Central Europe. Of the five countries it will traverse, Denmark is the only one withholding its permit, but Gazprom hopes that it will eventually be greenlit.

Russia Hopes EU-Russia-Ukraine Gas Talks to Bring Clarity on Transit, Deliveries

Energy Minister Alexander Novak continued by saying that Russia expects the upcoming trilateral EU-Russia-Ukraine gas consultations to bring some clarity in terms of the future of Russia's gas transit through Ukraine and gas deliveries to the country after existing contract expiration.

While the existing transit and deliveries contracts expire at the end of the year, the parties have not yet reached consensus.

“Everyone is set to find all the necessary solutions and ensure reliable gas pumping, gas transit from 1 January 2020. We will continue to work actively both at the ministry and company levels”, Novak said when asked if the countries would agree by 31 December.

According to Novak, the trilateral consultations of Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission on gas were carried out constructively, the next round will be held at the end of November.

"We have highlighted once more that there are still risks of our colleges being too late, and as a backup option, we are ready to facilitate the extension of the gas transit agreement, which is currently in force, for 2020. Although if our Ukrainian colleagues are ready to work according to the European law, we will be ready also to provide gas transit through Ukraine per that law", Novak stated.

Russia and Ukraine will have to intensify company-level discussions on mutually acceptable rules for Russian gas transit through Ukraine specifically in terms of tariffs and rules pursuant to the integration of EU legal norms and standards in Ukraine, Novak said.

"In the near time, we will have to intensify our contacts at the level of companies, at the level of Gazprom and Ukrainian companies, in regards to working out, among everything, the most acceptable rules of interaction between the Russian and Ukrainian operators of the gas transit systems. We will also study in the near future the methodology published on October 25, the methodology of determining the tariffs on gas transit across the territory of Ukraine. We wait for them to be published not only in Ukrainian but also in English, and it will be discussed soon, and we will analyze the competitiveness of these tariffs as compared to other routes", Novak said following the trilateral EU-Russia-Ukraine consultations on gas transit earlier in the day.

The agreement reached by Russian President Vladimir Putin and then-Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in 2009 is set to expire on 31 December, creating uncertainty regarding the future of this transit route.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a joint venture of Russia’s Gazprom and five European companies. 

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