Due to changes in national legislation and the resolution of a border dispute, Nord Stream 2 submitted three different routes for consideration by Danish authorities. The third application was approved in October 2019.
Permits are required for construction and operation of pipelines for natural gas produced outside Danish territory, but located in Danish territorial waters and on the Danish Continental Shelf, pursuant to the Continental Shelf Act, the Danish State’s sovereignty over its territorial waters, and Administrative Order on Pipeline Installations. The authority responsible for conducting the permitting procedure and issuing the permit on behalf of the Danish State is the Danish Energy Agency.
The first Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and a construction permit application for the route through Danish territorial waters was submitted to the Danish Energy Agency in April 2017. However, due to an amendment of the Continental Shelf Act that took effect on January 1, 2018, it was withdrawn in June 2019. The amendment provides the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs the right to recommend whether applications for infrastructure projects, such as gas pipelines traversing territorial waters, should be handled by the Danish Energy Agency, as was previously the case. This recommendation was pending from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the time that the amendment went into effect until Nord Stream 2 withdrew its application.
As a result, Nord Stream 2 explored alternative routes outside of Danish territorial waters.
A viable route was found through the Danish exclusive economic zone (EEZ) north-west of Bornholm (the North-Western Route), and the company submitted an EIA and application for construction in August 2018. However, when Denmark and Poland resolved a long-standing EEZ border dispute, it opened an area that could be considered for infrastructure projects, a route which the Danish Energy Agency requested that Nord Stream 2 apply for. In April 2019, Nord Stream 2 submitted a third EIA and construction permit application, this time to the south-east of Bornholm. The construction permit for this South-Eastern Route was granted by the Danish Energy Agency on October 30, 2019. The application can be found on the Danish Energy Agency’s website (in Danish).
Parallel to the Danish permitting process, Denmark also carried out the EIA process in the transboundary context according to the UNECE Convention (or “Espoo Convention”) for each of the EIAs and applications.