THE ‘NORD STREAM 2’ GAS PIPELINE IS ONLY 15 KM LEFT TO FINISH, PUTIN SAYS
Energy: Despite challenges and U.S. sanctions, Moscow has confirmed that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline originating from Russia to Germany which practically bypasses Ukraine is currently left with only 15 km to completion. However, this comes as Russian President ‘Vladimir Putin’ made it clear that the multi-billion dollar project is on the verge of completion during a press briefing on Friday.
The current project which is designed to double the capacity of the already existing Nord Stream gas pipeline to 110 billion cubic meters yearly will cost $11 billion, yet a focus point viewed as a project of obvious concern that has triggered tensions between the West and Moscow.
In view of this, despite sanctions emerging from the U.S., the subject project has not only continued but is on the verge of completion. However, for economic and political reasons, the U.S. believes that Russia will use this as a tool against Ukraine once operational. Although, this leaves a number of experts with a key question on how Russia intends to ship its gas to Europe once the current transit deal between Moscow and Kyiv expires in 2024.
Also, in a bid to assure all parties of Moscow’s obligations on gas transit via its traditional route to Europe, Putin made it clear after meeting with German Chancellor ‘Angela Merkel’ in the Kremlin on Friday that Russia intends to fully comply with its commitments on gas transit through Ukraine.
Equally, even as Nord Stream 2 is viewed as a Russian tool that could be used against Ukraine, yet, based on U.S. anticipated assumption, Putin on Friday went further by saying that Moscow was ready to send gas through her neighbor even after 2024 but Russia totally need to understand the scale of demand for its fossil fuel first, this points at forecast and prediction. While telling a news conference:
“And for this, we need to get an answer from our European partners on how much they are ready to buy”. Adding that “we cannot sign a transit contract if we don’t have supply contracts with our consumers in Europe”.
Although prior to the Putin-Markel talks that were held on Friday, one of Ukraine’s state energy firms’ Naftogaz had pointed at the subject project as one that breached European Union regulations, inferring that it could not walk commercially and should be stopped. Ukraine from the onset has never backed the project but opposed the construction of Nord Stream 2, as Kyiv claims the project was politically motivated.
More significantly, this comes when the European gas market is eagerly awaiting the flows of Russian gas via Nord Stream 2 owing to the fact that the European gas price is at its record high due to low liquefied natural gas supplies.
Yet, the project has faced a number of challenges ranging from logistics due to the complexity of the project, shallow laying, and its design specification.
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