To be or not to be Nord Stream 2?

Lubmin lucha por Nord Stream 2

To be or not to be Nord Stream 2?

A number of European countries consider the pipeline to be an exclusively political project aimed at strengthening the Kremlin’s influence

The US State Department has notified European companies involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that sanctions may be imposed against them. Moreover, this applies not only to companies directly involved in the laying of an underwater pipeline or inspecting construction equipment, but also to insurance companies, for example, such as the Swiss Zurich Insurance Group..

Currently, the construction of the pipeline has been suspended, although, according to experts, 94% of the planned work has been completed. The project cost is estimated at $ 11 billion.

In the European Union, the main supporter of the project is Germany, which expects to receive an additional 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia with the help of the second string of Nord Stream. For Germany, this prospect is very attractive, since the country has already abandoned the use of nuclear power plants and plans to close coal mines..

Unlike Germany, which considers Nord Stream 2 to be a purely commercial project, Russia’s closest neighbors in Eastern and Central Europe insist that putting the pipeline into operation will increase the EU’s dependence on Moscow and inflict an economic blow on countries that transit Russian fuel “through its territory.

Kiev’s opinion: “The meaning of the project is to increase the Kremlin’s influence on Ukrainian politics”

The position of Ukraine and Poland regarding the second line of the Nord Stream was recalled by an associate professor at the Faculty of International Relations of St. Igor Gretsky. Official Kiev has always stressed that the capacity of the Ukrainian gas transmission system is sufficient to transport Russian gas to the European Union. “Russia rarely supplied more than 100 billion cubic meters of gas per year, and the Ukrainian GTS has a throughput capacity of about 140 billion cubic meters per year. Accordingly, the Ukrainian government concluded that the construction of the Nord Stream is not economically feasible, “the expert clarifies..

And he continues: “The second thesis of the Ukrainian government is that the re-equipment of the Ukrainian gas transportation system is cheaper than the construction of the Nord Stream – about two and a half billion dollars versus eleven billion. Plus – maintenance of a pipe at the bottom of the Baltic Sea will cost more than maintenance of a pipe that has already been laid through the territory of Ukraine. ” According to Igor Gretsky, this argument allows Kiev to assert that the construction of Nord Stream-2 is not pursuing economic goals at all. “This means that the meaning of the project is only to increase the Kremlin’s pressure on Kiev and to increase its influence on the policy of Ukraine. And to deprive Kiev of room for maneuver during future conflicts with Moscow, “- sums up the interlocutor of the” Voice of America “.

Warsaw’s opinion: “Russia and Germany intend to carry out another conspiracy not only against Poland, but also against the interests of the European Union”

Warsaw’s arguments, according to Igor Gretsky, are partly consonant with the considerations expressed in Ukraine. “In particular, the Polish authorities have repeatedly stated that there is no need to create additional infrastructure for the transportation of natural gas from Russia to Europe, and that Nord Stream will not pay off either in the short or long term. And that behind this project are the geopolitical interests of the Kremlin, aimed at strengthening its influence in Ukraine, “he notes..

In addition to these considerations, the overwhelming part of the political establishment in Poland (with the exception of individual Social Democrats) has repeatedly drawn the attention of Brussels officials to the fact that the very concept of the Nord Stream contradicts the logic of European energy security. Which, in turn, implies diversification of gas and oil supplies. “This means that Gazprom can start dumping natural gas on the European market. That is, for three to four years, he can greatly reduce the prices for his products for the EU. And thereby reduce the importance of alternative infrastructure projects, such as the LNG terminal on the island of Krk in Croatia, as well as in Swinoujscie in Poland and in Klaipeda, making them unprofitable.

And, of course, Polish officials have always talked about Nord Stream and Gazprom as a whole as a political weapon of Moscow aimed at the unity of Europe. In particular, the former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski in 2005 called Nord Stream 2 a new “pact of Berlin and Moscow,” implying that Russia and Germany intend to carry out another conspiracy not only against Poland, but also against the interests of the European Union ” , – concludes the St. Petersburg international expert.

Stockholm view: “This pipe is not needed because the EU strategy implies the transition to renewable energy sources”

At the very beginning of this year, it became known that the Norwegian company Det Norske Veritas (DNV GL) refused to certify the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline if its construction was completed..

Norway is currently one of the main competitors of Russia in terms of natural gas supplies to the EU countries..

Swedish investigative journalist, documentary filmmaker and writer Malcolm Dixelius (Malcolm Dixelius) in an interview with the correspondent of the Russian service “Voice of America” ​​noted that his country is not a client of Russia in terms of buying gas.

“We buy very little natural gas, but we transport it from Norway. So the issue of Nord Stream is not a priority for us..

To be or not to be Nord Stream 2?
To be or not to be Nord Stream 2?

I remember that in 1997 Boris Yeltsin, during a trip to Sweden, tried to sell us Russian gas. But Sweden is provided with energy thanks to nuclear power plants and hydroelectric power plants, of which we have a lot in the north of the country. Therefore, Nord Stream concerns Sweden only as a political factor, ”says Malcolm Dixelius. And highlights two aspects.

First, the pipeline itself will run along the bottom of the Baltic Sea not far from Sweden, and the island of Gotland is the most sensitive point in this regard. By the way, Gazprom rented a port on this island for its needs, where there were a lot of Russian service personnel. “And there is still a suspicion that to some extent this threatens the security of our country. In particular, it gives Russia the opportunity to establish its stronghold there in case of a possible armed conflict, because there was not a single Swedish serviceman in Gotland at that time, and the island is under the protection of only our Air Force, “the interlocutor of the Voice of America Russian service emphasizes. And he adds that Sweden subsequently established its garrison on Gotland, which, however, can be considered symbolic.

The second aspect is related to Sweden’s membership in the European Union. “And here the position of the country is that, firstly, this pipe is not needed, since the EU strategy implies a gradual abandonment of coal, oil and gas and the transition to renewable energy sources – sun, wind, and so on..

Of course, we know that Germany, where this pipeline goes, is in a difficult situation – the Germans have given up nuclear energy, which means they need more natural gas. But the point of view of Sweden within the EU is that Germany is obliged to abandon the second line of the gas pipeline from Russia and switch to alternative energy sources. After all, Germany occupies one of the leading places in Europe and is obliged to set an example for other countries, ”the Swedish journalist emphasizes..

And at the end of his commentary, he noted that Sweden takes a firm position on maintaining sanctions against Russia “until the issue of Crimea, Belarus and a number of other hot spots in the territory of the former Soviet Union is resolved.”.

As for the future fate of Nord Stream 2, the Russian authorities have repeatedly declared their readiness to complete the project on their own. For example, in December 2020, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak announced that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline would be completed, as Vladimir Putin said during his annual press conference. And the press secretary of the Russian president Dmitry Peskov compared the American sanctions against the companies involved in the laying of the gas pipeline with “an open cowboy, raider attack.”.

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