The company behind the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would pump Russian natural gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea, applied Friday for an alternative route that would bypass Danish waters.
The moves comes as the Danish Parliament has dragged its feet about giving permission for the project to pass through Danish waters east of the Baltic Sea island of Bornholm. U.S. President Donald Trump has also criticized the project, saying Germany would be providing revenue to Russia and should instead buy liquefied natural gas from the U.S.
The company operating the pipeline project is majority owned by Russian state gas company Gazprom but is based in Zug, Switzerland. It said Friday that the route through Danish waters "will remain the preferred route." But it said it had presented a new one because the Danish foreign ministry's recommendation "has been pending since January."
The alternative route would still pass through what is called Denmark's exclusive economic zone. That would not require a parliamentary vote, but an approval from the Danish Energy Agency. Janni Torp Kjaergaard, deputy head of the Danish Energy Agency, said they had received the application and processing could take a year.
In 2017, the Danish Parliament adopted a text that would allow Denmark to decline hosting Nord Stream 2 for security reasons and Danes have been asking the European Union for help, hoping a solution could be found within the EU framework.
Other countries in the region—Sweden, Finland, and Germany—earlier this year have issued permits for Nord Stream 2.
In July, Germany's highest court rejected a bid by an environmentalist group to block the Nord Stream 2 construction, saying the group failed to explain its case sufficiently.
The more than 1,220 kilometer (760 miles) long, the Nord Stream 2 will add to an existing direct Russian-German pipeline, increasing the amount of natural gas Russia can send to central Europe skirting transit countries to Germany's east. Several eastern European countries object to the plan, which the United States also opposes.
(Source: Associated Press)