The Solitaire, a ship working on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, has begun laying pipes in Sweden’s exclusive economic zone, Aftonbladet reports. The pipes needed for construction will be stored at the Swedish Karshamn Port.
Sveriges Radio reported that the pipe-laying operation in this region will last until summer 2019, and that the Karshamn Port administration has hired 110 extra staff for this period.
Nord Stream AG, the pipeline’s operator company, announced on December 23 that the pipe-laying vessel “Pioneering Spirit” had started laying pipes for Nord Stream 2 in Finland’s exclusive economic zone. Construction in the Gulf of Finland began at the start of September, and the laying was initially done by the Solitaire. The vessel was later sent to the southern part of Sweden’s exclusive economic zone to begin laying 510 km of pipes.
The company added that 370 km of the Nord Stream 2 line has already been laid.
“The construction of Nord Stream 2 is going according to plan and according to schedule. Authorization for its construction has already been received from four out of the five countries whose waters the dual pipeline will pass through,” Nord Stream AG stated.
Ukraine, Poland and the US have consistently opposed the construction of the new gas pipeline, which has a planned capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year. The Donald Trump administration and Trump himself have repeatedly urged Germany and other European countries to stop the construction. A bipartisan group of American senators has promised to put forward a resolution in Congress which calls for the termination of the Nord Stream 2 project.
Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder said that the US is putting huge pressure on the Nord Stream 2 project because it wants to supply gas to Germany itself. According to him, Americans are opposing the pipeline construction “not out of their love for Ukraine, but because they want to supply gas to Germany – liquefied gas, which is of inferior quality, but more expensive than piped gas”.
On December 12, a resolution calling for the termination of the project was adopted by the European Parliament. “Because Ukraine plays a decisive role in European energy supply networks, members of European Parliament condemn the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in circumvention of Ukraine, since it is a political project which constitutes a threat to European energy security,” EU parliament stated.
Officially Berlin has repeatedly asserted that the gas pipeline is a purely economic project, and is unrelated to political considerations.