Russia Pledges to Finish Nord Stream 2
After the United States prevented Congress from completing the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, Russia has now agreed to complete the project. Ukraine, like most other Eastern European countries, continues to criticize the project but has also warned Germany of Russia’s increasing influence.
Nonetheless, Russia’s energy minister Nowak said last Friday that he expects the project to be completed in late 2020 despite the temporary halt to construction. Originally, Nord Stream 2 was scheduled for completion in early 2020, with commissioning expected to start a few months later. Around 80 percent of Nord Stream 2 has already been completed.
US sanctions had stopped the project when the Swiss company Allseas pulled its ships, as it was unwilling to be punished by the US for its involvement. Penalties include entry bans and freezing of assets in the United States.
However, the Russian ship Akademik Tscherski, which belongs to Gazprom, will now lay the pipes over the last 160 kilometers, once it has made its way back from the Far East.
Germany criticized the US sanctions as “serious interference” in internal affairs. Washington, on the other hand, argues that the project led by the Gazprom group increases Russia’s economic and security influence in Europe. Nord Stream 2 has been causing controversy between Washington and Berlin for quite some time.
Ukraine also warned Germany and France of dependence on Russia. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Prystaiko stated that Germany’s intention to become more independent through Nord Stream 2 had no effect, as the gas would ultimately “still come from Russia.” Besides, the Baltic Sea pipelines would be empty immediately if Russia was no longer inclined to deliver gas, Prystaiko, who also pointed out that Ukraine always has gas and would also be willing to deliver this via Ukranian pipelines, argued.
In the future, Nord Stream 2 – like Nord Stream 1 – will deliver gas directly from Russia to Germany. So far, Russia has used Ukraine as the leading transit country. Currently, Kyiv and Moscow are working on a new agreement for future gas transit to supply Europe amid the ongoing war in Ukraine and Russia’s role in the conflict.
However, it is also likely that less Russian gas will be transported through Ukraine in the future. Nord Stream 2 is designed for a capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Around 2,300 kilometers of the line with two strands have already been laid.