COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – The Gazprom-led <GAZP.MM> Nord Stream 2 consortium said on Friday it has applied to Denmark for an alternative pipeline route through the Baltic Sea that would avoid its sovereign territorial waters.
Denmark’s parliament may pass legislation allowing it to veto the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project going through Danish territorial waters on security grounds.
The Danish government is facing fierce lobbying by Russia, EU allies and the United States over the 9.5 billion euro (£8.53 billion) Nord Stream 2 project championed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and financed by five Western firms.
Denmark does not want to act alone and has postponed a decision on the new legislation.
Its search for a united EU stance on the proposed pipeline is deadlocked by divisions among member states over whether to do more business with Moscow despite its military incursions in Ukraine and Syria.
A Danish veto, under new legislation allowing it to do so on security grounds, would force Russia, which supplies about one third of Europe’s gas needs, to find a new route for the pipeline.
“The recommendation of (Denmark’s) ministry of foreign affairs has been pending since January 2018. Therefore, Nord Stream 2 decided to explore alternative routes outside of Danish territorial waters,” the Nord Stream 2 consortium said in a statement.
The alternative route would be 175 kilometres long and pass north-west of the island of Bornholm.
The consortium said it was not withdrawing an application filed in April last year to build a parallel pipeline to the existing Nord Stream pipeline that is already shipping Russian natural gas to Germany.
Sweden, Finland and Germany all earlier this year issued permits for the pipeline to run through their exclusive economic zone, which is regulated by U.N. law.
(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Susan Fenton and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)