Denmark gave Nord Stream AG a permit to use anchored pipe-laying ships to build the gas pipeline, the Danish Energy Agency (DEA) said Monday.
"The Danish Energy Agency has decided that Nord Stream 2 AG also may use pipelaying vessels with anchors in connection with the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipelines," the DEA said in a press release.
As specified by the watchdog, the change means that Nord Stream 2 AG will now be able to use anchored pipe-laying vessels both independently and in combination with dynamic positioning vessels.
"As we expected, the DEA satisfied our request ... We will implement the project in accordance with the building permit and environmental impact assessment. We continue to consider various options for its completion and in due time we will inform about our plans," Nord Stream 2 AG said in a statement following Denmark's decision.
In explaining the rationale of its decision, the DEA cited the Continental Shelf Act and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as documents obliging Denmark to "allow the construction of transit pipelines with respect for safety, resources and environment."
Additionally, the agency pointed out that the remaining part of the pipeline is being laid outside the area where Denmark discourages anchoring and other seabed intervention due to risks associated with dumped wartime chemical hazards.
After the end of World War II in 1945, close to 50,000 tons of chemical munitions were dumped in the Baltic Sea. The biggest part ended up off the Danish island of Bornholm and the Swedish island of Gotland, near where the trajectory of Nord Stream 2 is laid.
Last month, a bipartisan proposal aimed at imposing more US sanctions against companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 project was introduced in Congress. The US has long opposed the project, claiming that it would increase Europe's dependence on Russian gas.
Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture between Russia's Gazprom and five European companies, aimed at adding a second natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany across the Baltic Sea to boost Nord Stream’s capacity to 110 billion cubic metres per year.
Being a key member of the project, Germany has been facing strenuous pressure from Washington over its participation in Nord Stream 2. However, both Berlin and Moscow have repeatedly insisted that the project is purely economic in nature.