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Balancing Competing Interests When Building Marine Energy Infrastructures: the Case of the Nord Stream Pipelines

Chapter in book
Authors David Langlet
Published in Banet, C. (ed) The Law of the Seabed - Access, Uses, and Protection of Seabed Resources
Pages 572–592
ISBN 978-90-04-39156-7
Publisher Brill Nijhoff
Place of publication Leiden
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Law
Pages 572–592
Language en
Links https://doi.org/10.1163/97890043915...
Keywords Nord Stream, Baltic Sea, submarine pipeline, continental shelf, seabed, balancing of Interests
Subject categories Law

Abstract

Using the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea as a case study, this chapter investigates how competing interests relating to submarine pipelines are handled by the law of the sea. Particular attention is given to the role of transit states – ie States over whose continental shelf (CS) a pipeline is laid without it entering their territorial waters – and the limits to their right to regulate the laying of pipelines and thus act as arbiters of potentially competing interests such as the right of transport, the effective protection of the marine environment, and national security considerations. Only some such interests are recognized by UNCLOS as legitimate bases for coastal State measure potentially making it tempting to use such reasons as a pretext for pursuing other objectives. It is, however, concluded that although the pertinent rules in UNCLOS are complex and partly vague, the States concerned have in most cases diligently avoided pushing the limits of coastal State jurisdiction as set out in the convention.

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