April 3 (UPI) -- Even with some European countries lining up behind the project, getting approval for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a work in progress, Moscow said.
The German government last week issued a permit for the twinning of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline running through the Baltic Sea from Russia. With the permit, the German government has issued all of what's necessary for the project in its territory.
The existing Nord Stream pipeline extends from Russia through the Baltic Sea and then makes landfall in Germany. The project still needs approval from the governments of Denmark, Finland, Russia and Sweden.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Tuesday he expected other European partners would follow Germany's lead on the second leg of Nord Stream.
"We expect that decisions will be aimed at satisfying the interests of Europeans and European companies in gas supplies," he was quoted by Russian news agency Tass as saying. "So far this process is not over, the work is in progress."
The European market is fed primarily by Russian and Norwegian supplies, respectively. Russian energy company Gazprom plans to double the twin Nord Stream network and its partner in the project, Austrian energy company OMV, said the network is "of critical strategic importance ... as it will secure consistent, long-term gas supplies to Europe."
European leaders have expressed anti-trust concerns because Gazprom controls both the transit network and the supplies. The project has also drawn opposition from the United States, which is starting to tap into European markets with liquefied natural gas, which has less geopolitical risk exposure and more maneuverability than piped gas.
Heather Nauert, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said last month that any company that engages in the project could run afoul of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which imposed sanctions last year on Iran, Russia, and North Korea.