Sunday, June 13

The US gives in to the completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany


Correspondent in Berlin

Updated:

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German diplomatic efforts in Washington are already bearing their first fruits, The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has publicly acknowledged that Germany is cooperating to mitigate the effects of the gasoducto Nord Stream 2, which will transport large quantities of Russian gas to Europe and has confirmed the decision to waive sanctions on the companies involved in the project. US opposition to the project, unshakable during the presidencia de Donald Trump and somewhat more flexible with Biden, it was a big obstacle to the completion of the construction, which has only a few months left. Blinken, widely criticized in Congress for this softening, has justified that the construction of the huge pipeline system has already advanced too far to stop it and has made, with this declaration, an important gesture of will before which It will be the first meeting between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin, which will take place in Geneva next week.

Russia awaits cconclude before the end of the year the controversial gas pipeline, which will transport Russian gas to Germany through the bottom of the Baltic Sea. «The work continues. Has not stopped. The operator and the companies participating in the project continue to implement it, “said Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak,” we hope that the work will be completed perhaps before the end of the year, although it all depends on the builders and technological conditions. , technical and meteorological ». The project is being carried out by the Russian state company Gazprom and the French companies Engie, the German Uniper and Wintershall, the Austrian OMV and the Anglo-Dutch Shell. As specified in early April by the manager, Nord Stream 2 AG, so far 95% of the route has been built, 2,339 kilometers, out of a total of 2,460 kilometers, so there are 121 kilometers to go until its completion.

Double the supply of Russian gas

Nord Stream 2, scheduled to launch in early 2020, will double the capacity of Russian natural gas supplies to Europe, from 55,000 million to 110,000 million cubic meters, and the US Administration seems to have assumed that there is no turning back. From our perspective, the worst possible outcome would be to have the pipeline construction completed, relations with Germany poisoned, and without incentives to come back to the table and work together on how to mitigate the serious negative consequences, Blinken has admitted. with us at the table, we are actively in contact with them and that will allow us to better handle the situation in the future.

In exchange for their agreement, the US has begun making proposals that it considers to be of geostrategic importance. Ukraine It is surely the country most upset with the project, which will allow Russia to evade its territory and thus lose benefits and influence. Blinken has signaled to German diplomacy that it would be a good idea to ensure that Ukraine continues to charge transit fees “for many years.” It has also begun to study with the German diplomatic team possible automatic responses to the possibility of Russia increasing its pressure on Ukraine for gas related issues. After all, the 2015 crisis, in which Russia cut off gas supplies to Ukraine as a pressure measure, is not so far off. “We hope that our allies and partners will openly commit to take action so that we do not get in a mess if Russia does something wrong,” were Blinken’s words.

Possible actions

Y although for now I waive the sanctions, the US Secretary of State has hinted at possible US action in other respects. “Although the gas pipeline has been physically completed, to be operational it requires insurance and various permits. And we are carefully studying all this, “he warned, to reassure both Democrats and Republicans, all of them opposed to the project.

The works were suspended in December 2019, when the Swiss company Allseas, until then in charge of the construction of the submarine section of Nord Stream 2, announced its definitive withdrawal from the Baltic Sea after the US introduced sanctions against the gas project. After a year of pause and search for other alternatives, Russia assumed the final section of the work, just as he had anticipated that he would do if no other solution was found, using two Russian pipe laying ships, the Akademik Cherski and the Fortuna.

The laying of the first line of the submarine gas pipeline has already been completed and work with the second thread continues, Putin has announced. It only remains to lift the pipe from the German and from the Russian side and weld it. The Russian Slavianskaya compressor station, where the gas pipeline begins, is ready to start pumping the fuel. Following this announcement, Gazprom shares reached their highest value on the Moscow Stock Exchange since 2008.

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