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Denmark cleared on Thursday the final hurdle to Nord Stream 2 potentially starting operations in Danish waters, while the U.S. continues its attempt to stop the Russia-led natural gas pipeline project.
On Thursday, the Danish Energy Agency said it had granted Nord Stream 2 AG, the company behind the project, an operations permit for the Nord Stream 2 pipelines on the Danish continental shelf, on a number of conditions.
“Commissioning can only take place when at least one of the pipelines has been tested, verified and when relevant conditions in the construction permit and the operations permit have been met,’’ the Danish agency said.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said an interview with a German daily last week that the U.S. was building a coalition aimed at preventing the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will substantially increase the flow of Russian gas into Europe.
“From the US point of view, Nord Stream 2 endangers Europe because it makes it dependent on Russian gas and endangers Ukraine - which in my opinion worries many Germans,” Pompeo told German daily Bild.
Germany, the endpoint of Nord Stream 2, has been looking at the economic benefits of the project, while the United States, including President Donald Trump, has been threatening sanctions on the project and even on Germany over its support for the project.
The United States, several European countries including the Baltic states and Poland, as well as the European Union (EU), have expressed concern about Russia using gas sales and its gas monopoly Gazprom as a political tool.
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The United States views Nord Stream 2 as further undermining Europe’s energy security by giving Gazprom another pipeline to ship its natural gas to European markets.
In July, the United States warned companies helping Russia to complete Nord Stream 2 that they should ‘get out now’ or face consequences, as the Trump administration steps up efforts to stop the construction of the controversial Russia-led pipeline in Europe.
In recent weeks, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has come under pressure from some of her coalition partners to drop the German support for Nord Stream 2 after the poisoning of Russian opposition leader and Putin critic, Alexey Navalny.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.
Still, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is wasting his time trying to build an unholy coalition aimed at preventing the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
However, he should know that with President Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel solidly behind the project, he is wasting his time. Nord Stream 2 can be delayed and made more expensive, but it can't be stopped. The train is gone. Russia is hoping to complete the project by the end of the year.
Mr Pompeo should learn a lesson from history that the United States had failed to derail Russian gas pipelines to Europe since the days of the former Soviet Union. Nord Stream 2 is no exception. He will not fare better that both John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan who failed to derail USSR-backed energy-export pipelines such as the Friendship (Druzhba) oil pipeline in the 1960s and the Brotherhood (Bratstvo) gas pipeline in the 1980s respectively.
Angela Merkel believes strongly in the economic benefits and security of supply that North Stream would afford Germany and the EU. That is why the EU’s ‘Iron Lady’ isn’t for turning.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London