Key Facts About the Narva Bay Route in Russia
Protecting the sensitive Baltic ecosystem is a top priority for Nord Stream 2 throughout every phase of the project. The optimal route for the new gas pipeline is being chosen based on comprehensive environmental surveys, detailed impact analysis, and in accordance with national law and international standards. Below you will find answers to some of the most important questions relating to the selection of the route in the area of the Narva Bay in Russia.
1. Why doesn't Nord Stream 2 have the same route as the existing Nord Stream pipeline?
Because it would not be technically feasible to lay additional infrastructure along the existing Gazprom onshore corridor to Portovaya Bay and fulfil the minimum safety distance requirements between high-pressure pipelines and populated areas. There are seven points on the existing route where requirements cannot be met, for instance the minimum safety requirements for distances between high-pressure pipelines and populated areas.
Another important reason is the need to bring additional gas (some 30 bcm/year) to the southern Leningrad region to supply the developing industrial cluster in the Kingisepp area. This includes the Ust-Luga port and major industrial consumers such as FosAgro, Eurochem, Phosphorit and IST. Additional supply is essential for jobs and sustainable development of the Kingisepp district. It makes sense to combine the pipelines supplying both Nord Stream 2 and this region.
2. Why did Nord Stream 2 select the Narva Bay route that goes through the Kurgalsky nature reserve?
This is the outcome of a comprehensive study of the entire Gulf of Finland shoreline in Russia. We considered many technical, environmental and social constraints as well as safety requirements. The Narva Bay route is the preferred option for the Russian landfall because it would have fewer overall environmental and social impacts.
Detailed reports on a comparative environmental assessment of the landfall options in Russia have received positive feedback from the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University. Experts supported the selection of the Narva Bay route as the preferred option.
The proposed onshore route is located far from shipping lanes and it avoids ports, industrial sites and restricted areas, which will make it safer when Nord Stream 2 is operational. It is 39 kilometres shorter than the alternative route and requires less seabed preparation due to deeper waters and the smoother seabed. Altogether, it means less construction time and related disruption. Importantly, the route is further away from key habitats of grey and ringed seals.
3. Was the Narva Bay route chosen for financial reasons?
The Narva Bay route was selected due to its overall lower environmental and social impact. Cost was not part of the analysis on which the route selection was based. Because Nord Stream 2 plans to raise 70 percent of its estimated costs of 9.5 billion euros from international financial institutions, Nord Stream 2 cannot choose an option which is not environmentally sustainable. Moreover, Nord Stream 2 is developing a package of Environmental and Community Initiatives to support robust conservation and compensation measures in the Kurgalsky region. This package will be worth tens of millions of euros.
4. Will Nord Stream 2 destroy the Kurgalsky reserve?
The proposed route touches the narrowest, southern-most part of the Kurgalsky reserve. The construction would, at most, impact 0.14 percent of the reserve territory. Part of the proposed route – around 2 out of 3.7 kilometres – goes through already modified areas such as young plantations on burned forest areas and otherwise degraded habitats. The route was carefully chosen to avoid the most sensitive areas of the Kurgalsky reserve, such as the Kurgalsky reef and the central part of the Kader swamp.
5. Is Nord Stream 2 violating Russian legislation?
Nord Stream 2 will be implemented in full compliance with Russian legislation, the final decision is with the relevant Russian authorities. Moreover, we are committed to complying with stringent environmental and social management standards required by international lenders. As the project developer, Nord Stream 2 proposed the most sustainable route.
6. Is Nord Stream 2 violating international nature conservation conventions?
Nord Stream 2 will comply with all applicable law, including the Ramsar and Helcom conventions. These conventions do not forbid economic activities as long as there is no significant impact to the environment; instead they recommend the criteria that need to be met to carry out developments within these internationally protected areas. Nord Stream 2 will meet these criteria.
According to the preliminary environmental impact assessment (EIA), the pipeline construction will not materially change the ecological character of the Kurgalsky reserve. No significant pollution, habitat or biodiversity impacts on the Baltic Sea area are anticipated. As a responsible project developer, Nord Stream 2 is working on environmental and community initiatives to preserve the Kurgalsky reserve’s conservation value.
7. Will Nord Stream 2 affect the population of grey and ringed seals in the Kurgalsky peninsula?
The Narva Bay route avoids the key habitats of these endangered sea mammals. Nord Stream 2 has undertaken ongoing comprehensive research to ensure this. The key habitats of these animals are located on the islands of the Tiskolsky and Kurgalsky reefs at the northern extremity of the Kurgalsky peninsula, whereas the route runs through the southern-most part of Narva Bay. All works will be performed outside the breeding period. In addition, Nord Stream 2 will deploy an extensive range of mitigation measures, such as acoustic deterrent devices and marine mammal observers.
8. Will the pipeline construction destroy the white-tailed eagle nest found there?
No, the pipeline construction will not cause damage to the white-tailed eagle nest, as this is away from the edge of the construction corridor. At the moment, the Nord Stream 2 AG engineers are developing an optimised technical solution for the Russian landfall and a comprehensive program of environmental protection measures that will minimise environmental impact as much as possible.
The white-tailed eagle nest was discovered thanks to the studies commissioned by Nord Stream 2 itself. Our environmental surveys will provide comprehensive information on the flora and fauna along the proposed route corridor and thus contribute to the knowledge base about the valuable areas of the Kurgalsky peninsula and the East Gulf of Finland.
9. Why is it not possible to build a microtunnel at the Russian landfall?
Nord Stream 2 aims to provide the optimal technical solution. After conducting comprehensive assessments of various options, we believe that an optimised trench construction method is the safest and most reliable.
The feasibility of a trenchless technique for the Russian landfall is questionable because of the length of the tunnel required could increase the risk of failure. Were this to occur, there would be additional health, safety and environmental risks. Nord Stream 2 cannot commit to a potentially undeliverable solution.
On the other hand, we can accurately predict the environmental impacts associated with the trench method. The environmental impacts can be mitigated, compensated and eventually offset to ensure that the project has no significant adverse effects on the conservation values of the area.
10. Does Nord Stream 2 take the concerns of local stakeholders into account?
Yes. Nord Stream 2 is committed to transparency and open dialogue. Stakeholders have been engaged from the early stages of the project to ensure that public opinion is being considered. We disclose information online and hold regular meetings with NGOs, the media and local communities. Nord Stream 2 believes that building trusting relations with stakeholders and local communities is a prerequisite for the sustainability of the project in the long term.