Danish Nord Stream delay ‘could cost €660m’

Danish Nord Stream delay 'could cost €660m'
Workers at the Nord Stream 2 construction site in Kingisepp, Russia, in June. Photo: Anton Vaganov / Reuters / Ritzau Scanpix
Denmark's demand for a third environmental assessment for the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline would inflate costs by as much as €660m and delay the pipeline by eight months, the Russian-led consortium behind the project has complained.
In a letter sent to the Danish authorities sent in April, the Nordstream consortium called for the Danish Energy Board of Appeal to overturn a demand from the Danish Energy Agency that the consortium submit an assessment for a third route past the island of Bornholm. 
“Delaying the project will result in a significant financial loss for Nord Stream 2,” the letter, which was obtained by the news agency via a freedom of information request, complained. 
Nord Stream 2 added that it had “repeatedly asked for a status update…without receiving any response”.
The agency confirmed to Reuters that the consortium had appealed the decision, and said that it had in response outlined the rationale for its request. 
The pipeline is highly political, as it will allow Russia to supply gas to Germany, its biggest customer, without relying on transit pipelines through Ukraine. In April, US Vice President Mike Pence reiterated US criticism of the pipeline, saying it was “wrong for Germany to become dependent on Russian energy.”
In a statement also issued in April, the consortium complained that the request “can only be seen as a deliberate attempt to delay the project’s completion”.
The delay to the pipeline is likely to mean it is not completed before Russia needs to sign a new transit contract with Ukraine,  after the existing contract expires at the end of this year. 
This will strengthen Kiev's hand in the negotiations. Russia's energy minister Alexander Novak last month revealed that Russia had offered Ukraine a short-term deal replacing the current 10-year contract. 
Nord Stream 2 said in May, following Denmark's request, that the pipeline might make its first deliveries in 2020 rather than at the end of this year as previously hoped. 
The consortium in June announced that it had decided to route the 1,230km pipeline outside Danish territory in order to simplify its application.   

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