"The secret of success is to know something nobody else knows"

Aristotle Onassis

Meeting: October 10, 2019: Implementation of large-scale energy infrastructure projects with a transboundary environmental impact assessment

This interactive discussion of the Brussels Energy Club addressed the topic of:


"Implementation of large-scale energy infrastructure projects with a transboundary environmental impact assessment" 


And took place on Thursday, 10 October 2019, 4-7pm @ TUSIAD Avenue des Gaulois, 13, Brussels 1040


With special guest discussion openers:

Milena Novakova

Legal and Policy OfficerMainstreaming & Environmental Assessments 

DG Environment


Simon BonnelSimon Bonnell

Head of Permitting

Nord Stream 2 AG




When it comes to energy and environmental policy, the importance of EU law continues to grow. This has important implications for how large-scale energy infrastructure projects are planned, designed and implemented. In this BREC meeting on October 10, the Club examined the applicable legal framework for environmental impact assessments in the case of transboundary energy projects, and considered the manner with which it is being implemented on the ground by EU member states. In this context, several important energy infrastructure projects are currently being planned, under construction or about to be completed. Three of these are in the Baltic Sea: Nord Stream 2, the Baltic Pipe, and the Balticconnector. Given its magnitude and complexity, Nord Stream 2 lends itself as a relevant case study for discussion. Taking furthermore into account that the existing Nord Stream pipeline has been in operation since 2011, we already have a reference case that provides practical experience as well as monitoring results concerning the functioning and effectiveness of environmental impact assessments in transboundary cases.

With the EU now commencing its new legislative term, this was a very suitable moment to discuss the current set of rules and regulations for the implementation of transboundary energy projects from a broader, international perspective.

The project developer needs to contribute to this discussion every bit as the lawmakers, given their experience "on the ground". Indeed, project developers need to understand the measures they must take in order to meet the legal requirements set by the UN Convention for the Law of the Seas, the Espoo Convention, and the EU Directive for Environmental Impact Assessment, as well as national legislation, while the implications of these rules are not always well understood by stakeholders.


Program for October 10, 2019: 16:00 — 19:00 hours

  • Doors open from 16:00 leading into arrival of invited guests
  • Setting out the debate by the Brussels Energy Club at 16:30
  • Presentations by Milena Novakova — The EU's Environmental Impact Assessment Directive and its relevance for largescale transboundary energy projects
  • Presentation by Simon Bonnell — Case Study: the social and environmental impact of Nord Stream 2 construction
  • Roundtable discussion with members and guests of the Brussels Energy Club (NB: the Chatham House Rule will apply).
  • Event ends with our traditional networking reception


Speaker information

Ms Milena Novakova is a Legal and Policy Officer at Directorate-General for Environment of the European Commission, where she has worked since 2007. Currently she works on the application and implementation of the EIA Directive and SEA Directive. She is also the EU focal point of the UNECE Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context ("Espoo Convention") and its Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment ("SEA Protocol"). During her service at DG Environment she has also worked on the implementation of Cohesion and Structural funds projects, assessing their compliance with applicable EU environmental legislation, as well as funding of the biodiversity strategy priorities and the biodiversity international conventions. She holds an LLM Degree from the University of Sofia "Saint Kliment Ohridski", an LLM in International Law from the University of London, as well as a Master of Environmental Sciences from the University of Manchester and the CEU.

Mr Simon Bonnell is Head of Permitting responsible for the management of all environmental impact assessment and permitting processes necessary for construction and operation of Nord Stream 2. For the first Nord Stream project, Simon was Head of Finnish Permitting, responsible for the environmental impact assessment and permitting procedure, as well as Survey Manager, responsible for the design and management of all engineering, construction and inspection surveys. Simon has a BSc in Engineering Geology and Geotechnics with 30 years" broad-based experience in the scoping, management and supervision of offshore developments. In addition to gas pipeline projects, he has managed the permitting and installation of the Sea Lion fibre optic cable from Finland to Germany. He has worked with project developers, offshore engineering and survey consultancies and contractors holding key roles in notable projects including: Scarab / Saffron Development offshore Egypt, BlueStream (Russia-Turkey), Malampaya (Philippines), and GALSI (Algeria-Sardinia-Italy).


Further information

To register for this or future events  please contact Ben McPherson on research@brusselsenergyclub.org

Additional materials:
  • 6WQXuxh.jpg
  • dtMgQjZ.jpg
  • I8D0YJQ.jpg
  • oSjSGZt.jpg
  • 2pwX97M.jpg
  • cQKXQPD.jpg
  • lBVAbYS.jpg
  • wExZjuU.jpg
  • znobFSY.jpg
  • wo359sw.jpg
  • 7NnWUY3.jpg
  • 0ZkVgGY.jpg
  • Nmt9fAQ.jpg
  • Wz9Zg7c.jpg
  • oMJCiYz.jpg