A new law passed by the Danish government could authorize regulators to block the passage of the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline on security or foreign policy grounds, according to a new report by Reuters.
Under previous laws, the two reasons above would not have constituted valid grounds to reject the construction of a pipeline. Nord Stream 2 will bypass land routes through Ukraine, Poland, and Belarus to supply gas to Germany and surrounding nations. The line’s route cuts through Danish waters in its current form, but Gazprom researchers are investigating a new route that cuts through international waters instead, preventing a showdown in the Danish parliament regarding the project.
The Danish Energy Agency is assessing a submitted application for the Nord Stream 2 line, but the new law applies to all applications being processed, including this controversial one.
Supporters of the project argue that Germany and neighboring countries will get cheap, reliable gas from Russia that will complement—not replace—gas from existing supply routes.
Opponents of the project argue that Russia’s Gazprom will increase its share of the European gas market, which would boost its already dominant position in Central and Eastern Europe, and therefore undermine the efforts of some European countries to diversify their gas supplies away from Russia. Opponents also see Nord Stream 2 as Moscow gaining political leverage over the EU.
Nord Stream 2—currently planned for completion by the end of 2019—faces stiff opposition from Poland, the Baltic countries, and several other EU countries. Germany, on the other hand, which will be the main beneficiary of the new gas supplies, says that the project is just business, and should not be made political.
“There is existing, well-functioning gas transportation infrastructure in place to ensure Europe’s energy supply. Building Nord Stream 2, would, at the same time, endanger existing transport routes, notably via Ukraine,” the European Commission has said in the past.