As a project in a transboundary context, the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline is subject to international conventions and national legislation in each of the countries through whose waters it passes. Running through the Exclusive Economic Zones and/or territorial waters of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany, the project is subject to the Espoo Convention on the Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context.
Under the terms of the Espoo Convention, each of the countries through whose waters Nord Stream 2 passes is a “Party of Origin”. Though Russia has signed but not ratified the Espoo Convention, the country still acts as a Party of Origin as far as it considers it possible according to its legislation. Countries that could be affected by transboundary environmental impacts from the project are defined as “Affected Parties” according to the Convention. Since all nine coastal states of the Baltic Sea – the five Parties of Origin plus Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland – might be affected by the project, they are all considered Affected Parties. The Espoo Convention requires Parties of Origin to inform and consult Affected Parties if a proposed activity might have a potential significant impact across national boundaries.
Espoo Process in 2017
Nord Stream 2 was subject to this Espoo Process in 2017. At that time, all Parties of Origin consulted with all Affected Parties within the framework of the Espoo Convention. This process was based on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) documentation prepared by Nord Stream 2, called the “Espoo Report”. Find out more here.
Espoo Process for the North-Western Route in Denmark
Due to an amendment of the Continental Shelf Act (January 1, 2018), which gives the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs the right to recommend, based on wide-ranging considerations, whether an application for gas transmission pipelines traversing territorial waters may or may not be further handled by the Danish Energy Agency, Nord Stream 2 decided to explore alternative routes outside Danish territorial waters.
Following additional survey works, engineering and environmental assessments, a viable alternative route was identified outside Danish territorial waters only passing through the Danish Exclusive Economic Zone north-west of Bornholm. Nord Steam 2 submitted an application for construction together with an EIA for the alternative route north-west of Bornholm (north-western route) on August 10, 2018.
This application is also subject to an Espoo Process in which Denmark, as Party of Origin, consults with all Affected Parties in the framework of the Espoo Convention. The EIA documentation prepared by Nord Stream 2 will support this process. Find out more here.