Nord Stream 2 pipeline can still be built on schedule: OMV

ALPBACH, Austria (Reuters) - The consortium building the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany expects to complete the project on schedule in early 2020 or before, Austrian energy firm OMV said on Thursday, after speculation that it could face months of delays.

Rainer Seele, chief executive of OMV, one of the investors, said more than 75% of the project had been carried out but the completion timing would depend on securing Danish approval for the pipeline to cross its waters of the Baltic Sea.

“The Nord Stream 2 company has clearly informed us that it is sticking to the schedule and the budget, and we have no reason to revise the plan in any way today,” he said when asked if a launch at the end of 2019 or early 2020 was realistic.

“What will be decisive is when the Danish authorities make the decision, and what decision they will make,” said Seele, who was speaking at an economic event in Austria, adding it only took a few weeks to build the Danish section.

The project, led by Russia’s state-owned Gazprom, has had applications pending with the Danish authorities since April 2017 seeking approval to lay between 147 km and 175 km (90 miles and 109 miles) in Denmark’s Baltic waters.

Denmark has been caught up in the political row between Germany, which backs the pipeline, and the United States and other European states which oppose the project because they say it will deepen European reliance on Russian gas.

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Tassilo Hummel and Edmund Blair