"Today, more than two years after submitting its first application for a route through Danish waters, Nord Stream 2 AG has submitted a third application. The third application, together with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), covers a route in the Danish exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the waters south of Bornholm," the company said.
According to Nord Stream 2 AG, "asking for a third route option to be developed, despite two fully processed, ready-to-be-permitted applications on the table" can be seen as nothing but Copenhagen’s "deliberate attempt to delay the project’s completion."
The Danish Energy Agency (DEA) confirmed in a press release that it had received the third application, which offered not one but two alternative routes for the transit pipeline. The number of options under Denmark's consideration has thus been bumped up to four. DEA said it would pick "the most optimal route in relation to environment and safety."
"There is applied for two route alternatives south of Bornholm on the continental shelf… The Danish Energy Agency will now process the application and initiate the environmental assessment process," it stated.
The process, which DEA said is expected to begin shortly, will include a public consultation on the pipeline's environmental impact as well as talks with relevant countries on their cross-border environmental concerns.
"The length of this part of the case processing will depend on the number, content and complexity of the consultation responses. This means that the Agency currently cannot say when a permit can be granted," the agency admitted.
At the end of March, Denmark itself offered Nord Stream 2 AG to consider this option of the gas pipeline route, in addition to two others, for the construction of which the company had already applied.
Amendments to the EU Gas Directive
Meanwhile, Nord Stream 2 AG representative has spoken about the EU Council amendments to the EU Gas Directive, confirming that it was aware that the EU Council had passed them earlier in the day. The company's spokesperson has pledged to give its assessment to the legislation once it is officially in force.
"We have taken notice of the formal approval the EU Council gave today to the amendments to the EU Gas Directive, previously adopted [by the European Parliament]. To enter into force, the law is to be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and implemented via the national laws of the member countries over the next nine months. We will continue to monitor the process and assess the new legislation and its national implementation after the publication," the representative said.
According to the company, over 1000 kilometres (621 miles) of the pipeline have already been laid.
Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture of Russian energy giant Gazprom and five European partners. The pipeline is expected to be put into operation by the end of 2019. It is projected to deliver 55 billion cubic meters (1.9 trillion cubic feet) of Russian natural gas annually to EU countries, running through territorial waters or exclusive economic zones of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany. Denmark is the only country that has not authorized the construction yet.