Norwegian Corridor 7 December, 2017 11:00 am   
Editorial staff

Territorial dispute with Denmark will not be harmful to Baltic Pipe

Although in media we could read about a threat to the Baltic Pipe project realization, The Polish are convinced that the investment shall be realized without any disturbances. The territorial dispute with Denmark won’t pose a threat to it – writes Wojciech Jakóbik, editor-in-chief of writes about it.

Poland-Denmark territorial dispute  

– Ships conducting environmental analyzes for Baltic Pipe are already sailing the Baltic Sea. The end of the investment is set on October 2022, then the gas year ends and at the end of this year the Jamal contract ends. We are to meet the deadline. Everything is calculated in a way to make it possible – according to the Government Plenipotentiary for Strategic Energy Infrastructure.

HEG company which is PGNiG rival, the main client for gas from Baltic Pipe, on the Polish market alarmed on website, that the mentioned dispute regards Polish part of the exclusive economic zone extending from zachodniopomorskie voivodship between Polish and Danish territorial waters i.e. around Bornholm islands.

– Poland considers that it has the right to set out the border of its exclusive economical zone at a distance of 12 nautical miles from so called base line. According to this assumption, this zone belongs to Poland. Denmark, however, considers that the disputed zone is the element of its southern border of marine waters in this part of Baltic sea, and that the method of calculation of the southern given border it considers to be a so called median line, so the line equally distant from the Polish and Bornholm coast – as we read in company’s announcement.

– According to United Nations Framework Convention on the Law of the Sea a bilateral agreement is required to delimit exclusive economic zones. The dispute can also  be directed to be settled by competent commissions within the framework of aforementioned Convention. Currently Poland and Denmark still did not elaborated an agreement in this respect – HEG adverts.

– There is a good will of all participants but on the way there are some practical issues – Naimski informed. – In the press, at a given moment a gray market problem between Bornholm and Polish coast appeared. This dispute has not been settled for the last several years. There is a zone where according to the UN convention on the Law of the Seas the exclusive economical zones between the countries should be separated. The standard procedure is a geometrical division. However, our lawyers concluded that if we have a longer coast then we deserve more.

– This needs to be settled and there is a way to do that. It is not just our problem. The aforementioned convention talks about provisional agreement. We have settled with the Danes that this type of agreement will be concluded – Government Plenipotentiary declared.

We refer to article 74 regarding the conditions on ensuring the compliance with the laws and others regulations of the coastal State. The first item tells that: “The delimitation of the exclusive economic zone between States with  opposite or adjacent coasts shall be effected by agreement on the basis of  international law, as referred to in Article 38 of the Statute of the  International Court of Justice, in order to achieve an equitable solution”.

The item three of this article states that: “Pending agreement as provided for in paragraph 1, the States  concerned, in a spirit of understanding and cooperation, shall make every  effort to enter into provisional arrangements of a practical nature and, during  this transitional period, not to jeopardize or hamper the reaching of the final  agreement. Such arrangements shall be without prejudice to the final  delimitation.”

This means that it is possible to sign a provisional agreement which enables to build the Baltic Pipe notwithstanding the territorial dispute between Poland and Denmark. According to Naimski it is about to be signed soon. The final solution of this problem will further be taken care by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Baltic Pipe case should encourage the office to more energetic actions than within the las several years.

The next challenge is the crossing with Nord Stream 2

We already know the role division for the project. On November 28th, the Gaz-System informed, that during the construction of the offshore section of the Baltic Pipe from the Norwegian deposits, made by Denmark, to Poland, the Polish will be supported by Australian Subsea Engineering Associates company.  This may be the fruit of the talks in Warsaw which were facilitated by the Polish company through the organization of branch conference that was covered by Australians are suppose to keep the timetable and manage the project risks.

Neither is there the dispute to build the compression station for Baltic Pipe, however this previously was suggested by media. As Gaz-System informs that within this project the gas compression stations in Goleniów and Odolanów will be expanded together with the interconnection and adjacent infrastructure. The gas transmission interconnection will be expanded and new compression station will be created in Gustorzyn. This investments are critical for the operation of Polish transmission system after the creation of offshore gas pipeline, connecting Denmark with Poland.

The problem may appear at the crossing with Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 (if the latter shall be created). Technically, the are no obstacles. I written so many times in that the thesis saying that gas pipelines may not cross offshore is a myth. However, for realization of this objective an agreement is needed with consortiums responsible for the magistral. For political reasons the respective procedure may prologue, however, there are precedents of successful talks on Balticconnector crossing from Estonia to Finland. Whether the crossing with Nord Stream 1 and 2 shall take place without complications depends on clever actions of the Poles. The second pipeline from Russia to Germany should be ready until the end of 2019. Baltic Pipe is to begin its operation from October 2022. The race against time continues.