Blog Oil and gas Security law

The Nord Stream Pipelines through the Lens of Law and Geopolitics

By: Timo Koivurova (Research Professor at Arctic Centre, University of Lapland); Theresa Winkel (Doctoral Researcher at the Faculty of Law, University of Lapland)


Matter commented on: Regulation of Nord Stream Pipelines

  1. Introduction

In the realm of European energy security, few topics have sparked as much debate and controversy as the Nord Stream pipelines. The two projects, consisting of Nord Stream 1 and the more recent Nord Stream 2, are known as one of Europe’s most significant energy infrastructure projects. Different from other pipelines, the intention behind the parallel pipelines was to transport natural gas from Russia to Germany, only transiting maritime zones (but no land territory of other states) on its Baltic Sea route. However, it is not only the size of the overall project that will be remembered for years to come, but also the political tensions, legal challenges, heated discussions on the potential implications for regional energy security and geopolitical dynamics, including the 2022 blasts that caused severe damage to both pipelines.

Arctic Delimitation

The Problems of Overlapping Governance on the Arctic Continental Shelves Pending Delineation and Delimitation

By: Dr. Ekaterina Antsygina (Postdoctoral Researcher, The University of Hamburg) & Cornell Overfield (Research Analyst, Center for Naval Analyses)

Corresponding author: Dr. Ekaterina Antsygina,

Pdf: Ekaterina Antsygina and Cornell Overfield_04102022_ the NCLOS blog_ final.pdf

Matter commented on: Problems of overlapping governance on Arctic continental shelves

1. Introduction

The continental shelf has been the dispute par excellence in the narrative that the Arctic is an ungoverned region. The seabed of the Central Arctic Ocean is subject to overlapping “claims” by Canada, Russia, and Denmark (via Greenland), and alarming reports have suggested that competing rights over the resources might culminate in conflict between Russia and the West. This myth has been widely challenged, but another myth lives on: that the seabed beyond 200 nautical miles (M) remains ungoverned until the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) issues recommendations on the outer limits of continental shelves and the asserting states divvy up the pie. In fact, these states already can and do exercise control over the seabed areas they assert by virtue of the doctrine of inherent rights.

This coastal state prerogative creates problems at all stages before a final delineation of the shelf’s outer limits and a final delimitation of overlapping entitlements. Most importantly, where entitlements overlap and have not yet been delimited, potential users might proceed with some activities without approval from all states asserting entitlements to the relevant shelf area. Action based on unilateral decision could sharpen tensions and undercut trust among Arctic states. To minimize the risk of this pending the final delimitation of the Arctic continental shelves, Arctic states should establish a mechanism to authorize activities on overlapping entitlements beyond 200 M. This mechanism should be created as soon as possible among the United States, Canada, Denmark, and Russia (subject to changes in the geopolitical situation). On this backdrop, this blog post explores legal issues connected with activities on overlapping continental shelf entitlements in the Arctic Ocean and pre-delineation and pre-delimitation problems that the Arctic coastal States are facing.