Government gives consent to Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project
On 5 April 2018, the Finnish Government gave its consent to the Nord Stream 2 AG’s gas pipeline construction project in respect of the section that passes through Finland’s exclusive economic zone. Nord Stream 2 will build a twin subsea gas pipeline, running for about 1,220 kilometres through the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany and for about 374 kilometres across Finland’s exclusive economic zone.
In September 2017, the Swiss project developer Nord Stream 2 AG submitted an application for the Government’s consent under the Act on the Exclusive Economic Zone of Finland. Nord Stream 2 intends to construct and operate a new subsea gas pipeline system through the Baltic Sea. The new twin pipeline will be built next to the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, commissioned in 2011–2012.
The Government’s consent is conditional, which means the applicant has to meet the terms presented in the Government’s decision. The party responsible for implementing the project must comply with the general principle of prudence in preventing and minimising accidents and damage, must take due account of the susceptibility and vulnerability of the Baltic Sea and other existing projects in the exclusive economic zone and must meet the terms of the construction permit required under the Water Act. Furthermore, the project must be carried out so as to allow the implementation of potential infrastructure projects in Finland’s exclusive economic zone at a later stage.
The Government’s consent must be enforceable despite any appeal, unless the appellate authority specifies otherwise. The consent will be valid for 50 years, after which it can be renewed upon application.
The legal grounds for the Government decision are Finland’s exclusive economic zone legislation and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas. The Finnish exclusive economic zone is part of international waters.
A construction permit required from Regional State Administrative Agency
The Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland is processing Nord Stream 2’s application for a permit under the Water Act regarding the construction and operation of the pipeline. The processing of the construction permit application will include a detailed environmental impact assessment pursuant to the Water Act.
Nord Stream 2 plans to lay the pipeline in 2018–2019 and have it operational at the beginning of 2020.
Kari Klemm, Government counsellor, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 506 3523