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Nord Stream 2 pipelayer Allseas 'closely following' US sanctions' progress

Highlights

Swiss company currently laying pipe in Danish waters

Pioneering Spirit, Solitaire laying along pipe route

US Senate expected to approve defense spending bill

London — Switzerland-based Allseas -- which has been integral to laying the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany -- is monitoring developments around potential US sanctions against the project, a company spokesman said Monday.

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The US House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a defense spending bill, which includes language designed to allow for sanctions to be imposed on vessels laying Nord Stream 2.

The US Senate is expected to approve the bill this week after which it is expected to be signed off by President Donald Trump.

"We are closely following the situation," the Allseas spokesman said, declining to comment on any potential impact of the proposed sanctions.

According to S&P Global Platts trade flow software cFlow, two Allseas pipelaying vessels are currently moving in a northeast-southwest direction off the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea.

The Pioneering Spirit began laying the Danish part of Nord Stream 2 around November 28 and has tracked some 60% of its route to the border with Germany's Exclusive Economic Zone, according to cFlow.

The Solitaire is around four days behind the Pioneering Spirit, according to cFlow.

The timeline for work to lay the section of pipeline in Danish waters will be key to when Nord Stream 2 is able to begin flowing gas, with wider implications for the European gas market -- including whether Russia's Gazprom agrees a new transit deal with Ukraine's Naftogaz post-2019.

The Danish Energy Agency on October 30 granted a permit to the Nord Stream 2 operator to build the section of the pipeline in Danish waters southeast of Bornholm.

It was followed by a four-week period after the permit was granted for any appeals to be submitted, which ended on November 28, allowing for construction to begin.

--Stuart Elliott, Stuart.Elliott@spglobal.com

--Edited by Jonathan Dart, newsdesk@spglobal.com