Dwindling reserves may see Danes plug into Nord Stream

Denmark may agree the Nord Stream pipeline crossing its territory - in return for gas. It was among issues discussed by the Danish and Russian Prime Ministers on Wednesday.

Fears of an end to domestic gas, are encouraging Denmark's consideration of taking part in Nord Stream, with the Danish Energy Agency saying the country’s North Sea reserves will be gone by 2018.

That means Denmark’s status as the European Union’s only oil and gas self-sufficient country is coming to an end. Its biggest energy company is already getting ready to import, according to Kurt Bligaard Pedersen, Executive Vice President of Dong Energy

“Right this year the Danish offshore reserves go into decline. And we know when gas fields go into decline, it’s difficult to make prognosis. In our scenarios we’ll have to start the import – from late 2012. The company has to think and act ahead.”

Denmark has been an active gas exporter for years, and is also the only supplier to neighbouring Sweden – there’s only one pipeline to Sweden and it comes from Denmark.

Denmark’s biggest energy company has already signed an agreement with Gazprom on supplies of Russian gas starting from 2011 via the Nord Stream pipeline. If the grim forecast of a sharp decline in the country’s own gas production proves right, Kurt Bligaard Pedersen says the supplies through the pipe could cover a part of the shortfall in the country’s energy needs.

“The Nord stream is very important. We’re waiting for it to get all the approvals. We think it’s going to happen by autumn 2011.”

With the country looking at an end to domestic supply within 10 years, its planning to reduce energy consumption and diversify its supply routes. Some of will come from Norway. According to Anne Højer Simonsen of Denmark’s Energy Agency its existing infrastructure may help it re-export.

“We have a saying don’t put all the eggs in one basket. All infrastructure is good – we’re going to import the gas and earn money on it.”

While Denmark is mapping out its transition from an exporter to importer, the Nord Stream, which potentially could provide gas for twenty five million households, is ploughing through approval tests.