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DECEMBER 2020

Russian Pipe-Laying Vessel Moves In To Complete Nord Stream 2

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Russian Pipe-Laying Vessel Moves In To Complete Nord Stream 2

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Russia is to potentially finish Nord Stream 2 soon, according to vessel-tracking data from Refinitiv Eikon, cited by Reuters.

This relates to the Fortuna pipe-laying vessel, not the Akademik Cherskiy one, which for a while was primed as the one to complete the construction.

According to the vessel-tracking data, the Fortuna pipe layer left Mukran, where pipes for the Nord Stream 2 are stored on July 14th and is now moving in Danish territorial waters.

Fortuna is a pipe-lay crane vessel that was built in 2010 and is sailing under the Russian flag.

Gazprom, which leads the project refused to provide any comment.

Back in mid-June 2020, the Nord Stream 2 project applied for an amendment to its Danish construction permit that would allow pipe-laying work using a broader variety of vessels.

The request relates to the potential deployment of pipe-laying vessels that use anchors for positioning.

The initial permit permit — issued by the Danish Energy Agency (DEA) in October 2019 — allows only for the use of vessels with dynamic positioning systems, meaning that they would not be required to drop anchor to carry out pipe-laying work, to reduce the risk of setting off unexploded ordnance. The DEA had said this was a “key” condition of the permit.

On July 13th, The Danish Energy Agency said it would allow the Gazprom-led project to use pipe-laying vessels with anchors instead of the more advanced vessels using self-positioning technology, which are affected by U.S. sanctions.

Initially, Swiss-Dutch company Allseas was laying the pipeline by using two vessels: Pioneering Spirit and Solitaire. It, however, halted work to avoid U.S. sanctions after they were announced in December 2019 in an attempt to impede the construction being finalized.

U.S. lawmakers have been seeking more sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 project, which the United States sees as further undermining Europe’s energy security by giving Russian gas giant Gazprom another pipeline to ship its natural gas to European markets.

The U.S. sanctions on the project have divided Europe, with Germany criticizing the U.S. interference in Europe’s energy policies and projects.

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