Swedish Permitting Process

Permitting requirement in Sweden

In order to lay pipelines on the continental shelf outside of Swedish national territory, a permit is required according to the Swedish Continental Shelf Act (SFS 1966:314). The act implements parts of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and specifically the right for all to lay cables and pipelines on the continental shelves outside coastal states territories.

A permit is applied for at the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation. An application requires an alignment of the pipeline on the continental shelf, and information about the measures that are needed in order to hinder, limit and control pollution from a pipeline (see 4 § Ordinance of the Continental Shelf, SFS 1966:315).

A permit is issued by the Swedish government.

EIA Procedure in Sweden

There is no requirement to establish an EIA under the Swedish Continental Shelf Act. Nonetheless, Nord Stream 2 will adhere to the requirements in the EIA directive and the Espoo Convention. The project has therefore already carried out both national and international consultations, and established the equivalent of an EIA, named the Environmental Study.

After an initial review period by the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation and key authorities, the Swedish permit application – which contains the Environmental Study – will be sent out for public referral. The Nord Stream 2 project has been scheduled so that the national Environmental Impact Assessments / Studies performed in each of the five permitting countries for the construction and operation of the pipelines can be sent out for public consultation at the same time, as well as for international public consultation under the Espoo Convention. These national and international public consultations will run in parallel and are scheduled to start in early 2017.

The aim of the EIA Procedure

The aim of the EIA procedure is to evaluate the environmental impacts of a project, to ensure that consistent information on the impacts is available during planning and decision-making, to provide the public with information and the opportunity to participate in the process.

The Environmental Study carried out in Sweden (i.e. the equivalent of an EIA) describes the main characteristics and technical solutions of the project with a comprehensive assessment of potential impacts. The Environmental Study also includes assessments of transboundary impacts from the project in Sweden. It also includes measures to prevent and mitigate adverse environmental impacts.

The potential transboundary impacts associated with the construction of Nord Stream 2 on Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany will be presented in the Espoo Report. The Espoo Report will be ready in early 2017. 

Consultations under the Swedish Permitting Procedure

The consultation period for the Nord Stream 2 project was initiated in 2013 when a Project Information Document (PID) was submitted to national and international authorities (through the coordinating authority under the Espoo Convention), NGOs and other stakeholders. During the public consultation period held between April and June 2013, statements from various authorities and NGOs were requested and public meetings held. This first phase of the EIA procedure was completed in June 2013.

Based on the feedback received during this initial consultation process, Nord Stream 2 carried out environmental investigations and assessments in order to establish the national EIAs (in Sweden the Environmental Study) and the Espoo documentation.

During autumn 2015 and spring 2016 various meetings were held with stakeholders pertaining to specific questions raised during the previous consultation. Furthermore, a project information update was sent out to all stakeholders that participated in the previous consultation.

The Swedish part of the project filed an application for the construction of the pipeline system on the Swedish continental shelf (Exclusive Economic Zone), outside Swedish national territory, in September 2016. As stated above, the application will be reviewed by the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation, as well as specific stakeholder authorities, in order to assess whether supplementary information is required before the application is sent out for public referral. This step in the permitting procedure is called the administrative referral.

The administrative referral will most likely be finalised in December 2016. Nord Stream 2 will then supplement the permit application in order to be ready for public referral in early 2017. The applications of the other national jurisdictions will also have been filed by early 2017 and be ready for public referral, just as the Espoo documentation will be ready for international public referral under the Espoo Convention.

During the public referral, Swedish authorities, citizens and other interested parties will have the opportunity to state their opinions on the EIA documentation. International opinions and statements will also be requested. At the end of the public referral, Nord Stream 2 will receive all statements and provide answers to the statements made by national and international stakeholders. The case should then be ready for a decision by the Swedish

The timeline of the Swedish permitting:

Nord_Stream 2_Timeline_permitting_Sweden_EN

(Click to enlarge)