COPENHAGEN - Danish authorities said Friday they had given Nord Stream authorisation to inspect damage at its Baltic Sea pipelines in Denmark's economic zone, after a suspected act of sabotage in September.
"Nord Stream AG has been authorised to carry out a marine study in an area located in Denmark's exclusive economic zone", the Danish Geodata Agency told AFP.
It said the permit was given on November 1 to the pipeline operator -- which is majority owned by Russia's Gazprom.
Four large gas leaks were discovered on Nord Stream's two pipelines off the Danish island of Bornholm at the end of September, with seismic institutes recording two underwater explosions just prior.
While the leaks were in international waters, two of them were in the Danish exclusive economic zone and two of them in Sweden's.
Preliminary inspections have reinforced suspicions of sabotage, according to investigators.
At the end of October, Nord Stream sent a Russian-flagged civilian vessel to inspect the damage in the Swedish zone.
Sweden and Denmark cannot block anyone from carrying out their own inspections in international waters.
But the two countries, which have launched their own investigations into the incident, have refused to give Russia access to their probes.
"We want to get to the bottom of things, and we will do so with our allies," Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said in September.
The pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany, have been at the centre of geopolitical tensions as Russia cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation to Western sanctions over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.
Although they were not in operation when the leaks occurred, they both still contained gas which spewed up through the water and into the atmosphere.
Washington and Moscow have both denied any involvement and each has pointed the finger at the other.
© Agence France-Presse