Gas Pipeline Projects from Russia to the EU. An Expert Discussion
Construction of the German section of the gas pipeline will resume in December – in violation of sanctions
Construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which runs under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany, will resume in early December after a one-year pause due to US sanctions.
The resumption of construction thus means a violation of the sanctions.
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Construction; Nord Stream 2 will continue despite sanctions
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The construction of Nord Stream 2 was suspended in December 2019. Recall that if the project is completed, Russian natural gas supplies to Germany will double.
On November 28, Nord Stream 2 AG 28 announced that it would resume subsea pipe-laying work on a nearly three-kilometer stretch of the German Exclusive Economic Zone. This was reported by the German TV company NDR 1 Radio MV.
“The resumption of construction seems very strange, but it would be wise to try to do it before the US adopts new sanctions against Nord Stream 2, which will affect certification and insurance companies. There may be a bet that President Trump will veto the bill on the budget, which includes sanctions, ”said Atlantic Council expert Anders Oslund in an interview with the Voice of America Russian Service..
The Russian ship Akademik Chersky was supposed to complete the construction of the gas pipeline, but, according to the sea traffic tracking service, the ship left the German port of Mukran and is located off the coast of Kaliningrad. In 2019, Washington imposed sanctions on ships that are laying the pipeline.
“The ships that lay the pipes are unique. There are only two companies in Europe that can do this. Russia has an “Academician Chersky”, and there are certain technical characteristics that must be adhered to. For example, it is not allowed to use an anchor for laying a pipeline, but Akademik Chersky needs it for construction. The return of the ship to Kaliningrad indicates that it will not be involved in laying pipes, “the expert adds..
Alexander Crowther of Florida International University notes: continued construction of Nord Stream 2 indicates that Moscow is not very afraid of sanctions.
“Perhaps the Kremlin believes that with the departure of Trump, the sanctions will either disappear, or will be of a more targeted nature – against specific individuals and companies. Yes, sanctions can be an effective tool, but look at the sanctions imposed after Russia’s aggression against Ukraine – Russian soldiers never left Donbass. President Trump loves to use sanctions – he is a businessman – a lever of pressure, but he does not understand the concept of “national will”. You can impose sanctions as much as you like, but the Russians will only grit their teeth and continue to do what they are doing even more stubbornly. “.
Alexander Crowter also notes that the completion of Nord Stream 2 will strengthen Russia’s influence in the region, and Ukraine will suffer the most. According to him, the Kremlin will be in a winning situation.
“Ukraine will lose the most, and not because Kiev will lose $ 2 billion in profit a year for the transit of Russian gas to Europe. If earlier Putin could turn off the gas to punish Ukraine, then he faced great pressure from Europe. Now this pressure on the Kremlin will decrease. Russia will have South Stream and Nord Stream 2 at its disposal, which bypass Ukraine. And this is a very powerful weapon: for example, he cuts off gas supplies to Ukraine in January and a lot of angry Ukrainians appear, which can lead to certain political consequences within the country. The US needs to monitor whether Putin cuts off the gas and how Washington can help Ukraine “.
Berlin is aware that Moscow is their main rival, and is trying to have close relations, but at the same time not to let Russia get too close, says Krauther. The expert notes that if the gas pipeline is completed, then in the short term it will have a positive effect on Germany, but in the long term, Europe will not be easy to diversify the supply of cheap energy resources from Russia..
“Germany once decided to switch to renewable energy sources – solar and wind. China entered the solar market and destroyed it with its low prices. So in the long term, Nord Stream 2 destroys the ability of Germany and the EU to diversify energy resources. Moreover, both Germany and the EU will not engage in fracking, ”recalls Crouter.
The expert believes that the completion of the gas pipeline will not affect relations between Berlin and the new White House administration.
“There are many professionals in the new administration who believe in alliances,” the analyst says. – They will get along with NATO, Germany, the EU. I believe we will see a return to active politics based on multilateralism. Yes, Nord Stream 2 is an irritant, but it will not greatly affect relations. “.
Journalist. Graduated from the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. He has worked on Channel 1 + 1 and Channel 5, on the Voice of America since 2014, and was one of two Voice of America correspondents covering the 2018 Russian presidential elections from Moscow. He pays attention to the topic of US-Ukrainian and US-Russian relations. Actively covered the case of Paul Manafort and Maria Butina.
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