To lay the pipe
The last issue of our chronicles was completed on January 5 (Who will replace "Akademik Chersky" in Danish waters), after which there was a pause, strongly reminiscent of the classical theatrical. However, it did not drag on for long.
January 6-12, 2021. The pipe-laying vessel KMTUS "Akademik Chersky" arrived in the area of the Danish island of Bornholm on January 6, 2021, standing on the border of the exclusive economic zones - the EEZ of Germany and Denmark. There was no talk of an immediate resumption of construction on the Danish section of Nord Stream 2.
By that time, the operator of the construction project, Nord Stream 2 AG, had not yet provided the Danish Energy Agency (DEA) with a schedule of the planned works.
The anchorage of the Akademik Chersky was located to the south of the unfinished section of Nord Stream 2. On January 11, 2021 (after six days of inactivity in the Danish EEZ), the pipelayer headed east, passing Fr. Bornholm towards Kaliningrad.
In the area of the port of Mukran, four ships remained these days, which may be associated with fleet completion of Nord Stream 2 - support vessel Ivan Sidorenko, anchor handling tug Umka, anchor handling tug Errie, and support vessel DP Gezina under the flag of the Bahamas.
January 13, Wednesday. The fleet for the completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline has begun to move. Preparations have begun for the construction of a gas pipeline section in the Danish EEZ. The Fortuna pipe-laying barge (TUB) prepared to leave the port of Wismar, while the Akademik Chersky remained in the Kaliningrad region.
On the eve of X-Day, which everyone called January 15, it became clear that it would not take more than six months to carry out construction work on the 120-kilometer Danish section. Subject to the joint work of two pipelayers - "Fortuna" and "Academician Chersky".
Pipelayers to write off
January 15, Friday. Bundesamt für seeschifffahrt und hydrographie, BSH - The German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency has extended the previously issued Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline (MGP) permit until the end of May 2021. BSH reported this on January 15, 2021.
The BSH permit applies to the laying of pipes in the exclusive economic zone of Germany on two sections with a total length of 30,4 km. Of these, 16,5 km along one line, including 2,6 km in shallow water and 13,9 km along another line of the gas pipeline.
The validity of the permit has been extended from the end of September 2020 to the end of May 2021. You can start building Nord Stream 2 immediately.
January 16-18. Preparations for the resumption of construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the Danish EEZ south of the island. Bornholm was suspended despite the fact that the operator Nord Stream 2 AG received a full package of construction permits starting from 15 January 2021.
There were messages about the need to clarify at the end of January - beginning of February 2021 the start time of pipe-laying. TUB "Fortuna" these days remained at the anchorage of the port of Rostock. KMTUS "Akademik Chersky" returned to the area of the Curonian Spit near Kaliningrad, near the border of the territorial waters of Russia.
The ship's participation in construction remains questionable, as US sanctions create difficulties with certification of the Russian pipelayer and with its insurance. Meanwhile, a number of experts do not doubt that both Fortuna and Akademik Chersky will do their job, after which they will be formally written off.
Close the firm
However, nothing, including problems with the owners of the pipe layers, will not prevent them from returning to the fleet and using them in the implementation of domestic projects similar to Nord Stream 2.
We cannot even exclude the use of these pipe layers for laying pipes for transporting gas from the Yamal Peninsula. Recent studies indicate that the reserves of blue fuel there (moreover, suitable for production already at the present time) significantly exceed the possibilities of liquefaction at the constructed facilities of Yamal LNG (pictured).
January 19, Tuesday. It became known that the Russian insurance company Constanta, created recently, was invited to resolve the issue of insuring work on Nord Stream-2 and the vessels involved.
Experts believe that in the event of real financial losses due to sanctions, it can simply go bankrupt as soon as the insurance contract expires.
At the same time, the decision on certification of the project, which is necessary for its commissioning, has not yet been made. Recall that the problem arose after the well-known Norwegian company DNV GL, a long-term certifier of Gazprom's projects (including Nord Stream 1), due to the threat of sanctions, stopped working with the Nord Stream 2 project.
However, it is already known that the Stiftung Klima-und Umweltschutz MV (Climate and Environment Foundation Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) is officially registered in Germany and has started its work. It was created, among other things, to counter the sanctions against Nord Stream 2.
Forget about sanctions
January 20, Wednesday. It has been officially announced that the United States has expanded its sanctions against SP-2 to cover testing, inspection and certification services, as well as services or facilities for upgrading stacking vessels. Including, against the ship "Fortuna" and its owner - the company "KBT-Rus".
January 21, Thursday. KMTUS "Akademik Chersky" headed for the port of Wismar in northern Germany. Other ships of the fleet did not show any activity.
They were still in the areas of the ports of Kaliningrad, German Mukran, where the logistics terminal of Nord Stream 2 was built, Rostock and Wismar in northern Germany, as well as in the Danish EEZ, south of Fr. Bornholm, where preparations continued for the resumption of construction.
The movements of the anchor breeders around the Fortuna Tub, as well as the fact that the lifting and reopening of the pipeline strings for the resumption of construction have already been completed, testified that we are talking about the beginning of the long-awaited pipe laying.
January 22, Friday. On that day, all the world media reported that the Fortuna pipe-laying barge had started work on the resumption of construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline section.
January 22-27. Works in the Danish EEZ south of Fr. Bornholm is actively being escorted by five support ships. The rest of the completion fleet is at the ready, the ships are concentrated in three main areas of the Baltic: south of about. Bornholm, in the ports of Mukran and Kaliningrad.
Opponents - on trial
The confidence of Russian gas workers that SP-2 needs to be completed is considered by many in the West to be unjustified self-confidence. Forgetting that Gazprom has long and seriously insured itself even in the event of a complete collapse of the project.
And this is not at all about the insurance that the United States wants to nullify with its sanctions. The bankruptcy of the operator, which, in principle, cannot be ruled out, especially against the background of all that 2020 brought to the world, in any case, it will pull a whole train of litigation.
It's not even about the unpleasant prospect for Germany and Europe to be left without a very substantial share of Russian gas. And in the foreseeable future. After all, Russian gas companies have obligations on Ukrainian transit (at least real) for only four years.
First of all, for the sake of such a case, Russia, among other things, will easily revive all the WTO mechanisms that have rusted under the pressure of the sanctions wars, and then the pandemic. The best lawyers will not resist the prospect of making money on such a process of the century.
We will keep silent about not so high courts. But let us recall that a pipe completely ready for operation is a powerful argument in favor of bankruptcy. Whoever it turns out to be: the operator Nord Stream-2 AG or the unsinkable Gazprom itself together with its five partners in the long-suffering project.