Putin announces completion of first phase of North Stream-2
The first phase of the Nord Stream-2 pipeline has been completed, announced Russian President Vladimir Putin during a speech at St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
"I am pleased to report that today, two and a half hours ago, the laying of the pipes of the first line of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline was successfully completed . Work on the second line continues. The construction in its entirety, including the maritime section, is finished," Putin said.
Earlier, the Russian Energy Minister, Alexander Novak, said that 100 km of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline are still to be finished. On May 18, the German Consul General in Yekaterinburg, Mathias Kruse claimed that there are still 80 km remaining.
Now, according to Putin, Gazprom is ready to “fill the pipe with gas”, and Russia is ready to continue to implement such projects with foreign partners.
"This route will directly connect the Russian gas transit systems and the Federal Republic of Germany. Nord Stream will ensure Europe's energy security, reliable supply to European consumers in general," Putin said. He added that the project is "economically highly effective, fully compliant with the most stringent environmental standards and technical requirements."
"We are ready to continue to implement similar high-tech projects with our European and other partners. And we expect that the logic of mutual profitability and mutual benefit will inevitably prevail over all sorts of artificial barriers of the current political situation," Putin said.
The completion of the 10-billion-euro project, of which 5 billion was invested by Gazprom, and the remainder by five European energy companies, is expected before the end of the year, said the Energy Minister, Alexander Novak.
Two pipes with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year, laid on the bottom of the Baltic Sea from the coast of Russia to Germany, were the third attempt of the Kremlin to bypass Ukraine in delivering gas to Europe.
The first, South Stream was blocked by Bulgaria, the second, TurkStream, was partially blocked by Turkey, which agreed to use only one line of Turkish Stream instead of the three that Gazprom had hoped for.
The fact that the U.S. decided not to impose sanctions against the operator of the Nord Stream 2, Nord Stream 2 AG, will increase the chances of its completion this year, but will not prevent further disputes about the operation of the pipeline, warns Konstantin Simonov, director of the Russian National Energy Security Fund.
In 2019, the European Commission adopted amendments to the gas directive, which prohibit one company to be both the owner of the gas pipeline and the gas supplier.
This means that Gazprom is required to provide access to Nord Stream-2 to independent gas suppliers, and it can use only half of the capacity, 27.5 billion cubic meters per year.