Pipeline Nord Stream 2: Controversial But Unstoppable
The soon-to-be-completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is expected to quadruple natural gas supplies from Russia to Germany, has sparked debate in European capitals and heightened tensions with the United States.
Here’s a look at what the US deems a geopolitical security danger but also a “fait accompli” after a senior US official disclosed an agreement with Germany on the project on Wednesday:
The 1,200-kilometer (745-mile) Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which runs from Russia’s Baltic coast to northeastern Germany, follows the same route as Nord Stream 1, which was finished over a decade ago.
Nord Stream 2 will be able to pipe 55 billion cubic metres of gas per year to Europe, similar to its twin, improving Europe’s access to relatively inexpensive natural gas at a time when local output is declining.
Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, owns a substantial stake in the 12-billion-euro ($10-billion) project. Uniper and Wintershall of Germany, Engie of France, Shell of the United Kingdom, and OMV of Austria are also involved.
Nord Stream 2 avoids Ukraine’s pipeline infrastructure, costing the country roughly a billion euros per year in transit fees and, Kiev worries, removing a major check on Russian aggression.
Ukraine, which has been at odds with Russia since Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014, worries that Nord Stream 2 will be exploited by Moscow to apply political pressure.
Ukraine’s gas supply has been shut off multiple times in the past due to disagreements with Russia.
These are worries that the United States shares. Several European countries, particularly Poland and eastern European countries concerned about growing overly reliant on Moscow for energy security, agree.
Victoria Nuland, the US undersecretary of state for political affairs, told a Senate committee on Wednesday that the US and Germany had agreed to impose penalties on Russia if it “attempts to use energy as a weapon or commits further hostile acts against Ukraine.”
Analysts, on the other hand, disagree about the economic and environmental benefits of Nord Stream.
The project, according to a 2018 assessment by the German think tank DIW, is unneeded and is based on estimates that “substantially overstate natural gas demand in Germany and Europe.”
Nord Stream 2 is a business initiative, according to Russia and Germany.
Germany, which imports approximately 40% of its gas from Russia, believes the pipeline will aid in the country’s move away from coal and nuclear power.
The shareholders committee of Nord Stream is chaired by former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
Following the imprisonment of, Chancellor Angela Merkel faced a critical test when she defied heavy pressure from Washington and Brussels to abandon the project. Brief News from Washington Newsday.