Head of permitting at Nord Stream 2 Frank Haeuser was seen arriving to attend a hearing on whether the pipeline construction can be accelerated at the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency of Germany (BSH) building in Hamburg on Monday.

Nord Stream 2 applied for a permission to continue the construction works in the Baltic Sea during January and until March of 2020. The application has reportedly been submitted in September already. At the time of writing 2,100km (1305 miles) of the pipeline were constructed, with 300km (186 miles) left until its finalisation.

The step drew criticism from the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union of Germany who say that a continuation of construction works during winter would endanger a number of marine bird species settling in the concerned region over the period. Objections against the issuing of the permission were to be heard during the hearing on Monday.

The €11 billion ($12.3bn) pipeline project is financed by Russia's Gazprom alongside Germany's Uniper and BASF, Anglo-Dutch firm Shell, Austria's OMV and France's Engie, and is supposed to increase the amount of gas going under the Baltic Sea to 55 billion cubic metres per year.

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