MOSCOW, Sept 10 (ClinchBase) – Russia’s energy conglomerate Gazprom announced on Friday that its Fortuna vessel has finished construction of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany. However, the subject pipeline which is set to double natural gas flows from Russia to Germany while bypassing Ukraine which has been the main source of sanctions and delays.
“Chairman of the Management Committee Alexei Miller said that this morning at 8.445 Moscow time (05:45 GMT) construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline was fully completed”, Gazprom said in a statement.
The Nord Stream 2 has left the European capitals divided, and raised a lot of tensions between the bloc and Washington. And this is owing to the fact that it diverts natural gas supplies from its traditional route via Ukraine while depriving Kyiv a Europes’ ally of annual transit fees from Russia, which is also viewed as a key controversy over the project.
The embattled multi-billion dollar project has faced several delays due to sanctions, which in one case saw Swiss Allseas abandoning the project in 2019 over a potential U.S. sanction, although, Ukraine which has been in conflict with Russia since Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea has warned Europe that the subject pipeline (NS2) could be used by Moscow as a geopolitical pressure tool.
It’s worth noting that the latest development (Gazprom announcement) from Russia’s energy giant would not be welcome by Kyiv including the other Baltic States.
Of course, there are concerns, if we could recall in previous energy disputes, Russia did cut gas supplies to Kyiv. And if experts are to weigh that with the current diplomatic climate, gas piping through Ukraine to Europe could result in a lot less flows once Nord Stream 2 becomes operational. Ukrainian President ‘Volodymyr Zelenskiy’ has last month described the pipeline as “a dangerous geopolitical weapon”.
Yet, Ukraine as we know isn’t alone in this struggle, Poland and the Baltic States have fiercely opposed the project, bearing in mind that Moscow will use it as a geopolitical weapon in disputes.
Keeping up with pressure despite U.S. pushback
Despite the U.S. imposed sanctions and Europe’s concerns over a likely outcome that could impact terribly on Ukraine’s economy, Moscow remained resilient in delivering the pipeline project.
The Russian energy giant Gazprom has a majority stake in the 10-billion-euros ($12 billion) project. While Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall, the Anglo-Dutch firm Shell, France’s Engie including Austria’s OMV are also involved.
Germany as top Europes’ economy currently imports around 40% of its liquefied gas from Russia, more significantly from the Nord Stream 1, and Berlin believes that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has a role to play in Germany’s transition away from coal and nuclear energy which isn’t ecological friendly.
In view of this, Russia and Germany have repeatedly insisted that the pipeline project is a purely commercial project, but analysts have disagreed about the project’s economic benefits.
Like other U.S. presidents, ‘Joe Biden’ had equally objected to the project, a project he sees as a bad deal for Europe and a security risk. While on the other hand, critics of this argument have also pointed out that Washington is rather throwing its punch bag into the ring in order to boost sales of liquefied natural gas to Europe.
- What more we know about Gazprom announcement?