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Russia's Nord Stream 2 appeals against third route through Denmark

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The company building Russia's Nord Stream 2 natural gas link to Germany is appealing against the Danish Energy Agency's request for a third route option through Danish waters in a bid to speed up the approval process.

The lack of a Danish permit is creating uncertainty about whether the 55 Bcm/year Nord Stream 2 can start flowing gas by the end of this year as planned, before Russia's transit contract with Ukraine expires.

Nord Stream 2 is already waiting for the DEA to decide on permit applications for two different routes, and argues the request in March for a third route option is illegal.

Nord Stream 2 has complied with the request, however, submitting an application on April 15 for a route running southeast of the Danish island of Bornholm in Denmark's exclusive economic zone.

It now wants the DEA to grant a permit for any of the pending permit applications "as soon as possible," Nord Stream 2 EU adviser Sebastian Sass told S&P Global Platts Tuesday.

The DEA has said before that there is no legal deadline for granting permits, and that it is not possible to say how long it will take to decide.

Nord Stream 2 has all the other permits it needs, and is on track in the other countries - Finland, Germany, Russia and Sweden - on its route across the Baltic Sea.

The Danish section of the pipeline could take around a month to lay, assuming the use of two lay barges with average pipe lay rates of 3 km/day, according to Nord Stream 2 data.

Nord Stream 2 applied in April 2017 for a route through Danish territorial waters south of Bornholm, and in August for a route through Denmark's exclusive economic zone northwest of Bornholm.

DEA DEFENDS REQUEST

The DEA defended its request for a third route option, with head of division Trine Sannem Monsted saying the final route chosen has to be both safe and best for the environment.

"There are lots of ships passing to the north of the island every day," she said Tuesday. "We found that there might be good reasons for a route to the south of the island."

The southeastern route only became an option after a recent agreement between Denmark and Poland on their exclusive economic zone borders.

The DEA said earlier in April it would only issue a permit for one route.

--Siobhan Hall, siobhan.hall@spglobal.com

--Edited by Jonathan Loades-Carter, jonathan.carter@spglobal.com