Germany suspends construction of Nord Stream 2

The permit for the construction of Nord Stream 2 in Germany economic zone in the Baltic Sea has been suspended, reports Interfax citing German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH).

The permit, which was in effect until the end of May and applies to a 16-kilometer stretch of pipeline under construction, has been suspended due to a lawsuit filed by environmentalists, said a representative of BSH.

In April, Germany's Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) tried to challenge the regulator’s permit directly, citing the fact that the pipeline area is of special importance for nesting birds, and also "destroys the habitat on the seabed spanning the area of more than 16 soccer fields."

The Federal Office for Shipping and Hydrography rejected the environmentalists' claims, after which they appealed to the court in Hamburg.

The NABU filed a lawsuit on Monday, May 3. In mid-April, another environmental organization, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, filed a similar lawsuit.

Due to the lawsuit, the permit for Nord Stream 2 AG, Gazprom's Swiss-registered subsidiary, had been temporarily suspended, BSH told Interfax.

"Now the court will make the decision. But, so far, the construction permit issued until the end of May is not valid," the official said.

Nord Stream-2 with a projected capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year is Russia's third attempt in the last 7 years to supply gas to Europe bypassing Ukraine.

The previous two ended in failure. The South Stream project was buried by Bulgaria, which refused to become a transit hub for Russian gas. Turkish Stream ran into problems in Turkey, which instead of the three transit pipes planned by Gazprom, agreed to lay only one.

Nord Stream 2 came under U.S. sanctions in December 2019, which have since been tightened many times. As of April 1, the pipeline was 95% complete. Out of 2.46 thousand km of pipeline, 2.339 thousand km were laid.

In December 2020, the Fortuna pipe-laying barge laid a 2.6 km stretch in Germany's exclusive economic zone, and then began laying pipes in Danish territorial waters.

In early March, Nord Stream 2 AG announced that the pipe-laying vessel Akademik Chersky would join Fortuna.

  Nord Stream, Germany, Gazprom