Nord Stream 2 to launch by end of 2020 or Q1 2021 - Putin

Author: Diane Pallardy

2020/01/13

LONDON (ICIS)--The Russian pipeline could be finished by the end of this year or in the first quarter of 2021, president Vladimir Putin said at a press conference following a meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel on 11 January.

Nord Stream 2 is expected to double Gazprom’s export capacity to Germany to 110 billion cubic meters per year and was initially expected to be completed by the end of 2019 but recent US sanctions made the completion of the controversial project harder.

“We will certainly be able to complete it on our own without inviting foreign partners. The timeframe is the only question,” Putin said. “There is no doubt that its completion will be delayed by several months. I do hope though that this work will be completed before the end of this year or in the first quarter of next year,” he added.

“The project can be implemented despite the US sanctions,” Merkel said. “We will continue to support this project as we did in the past,” she added.

On 20 December, Washington passed sanctions against the main pipe-laying vessels building the pipeline in the Baltic Sea. Following this, pipelayer owner Allseas withdrew its vessels from the project, which was over 93% built at the time. The Swiss contractor was responsible for laying 96% of the pipes and had two highly specialised vessels not easily replaceable involved in the project.

Nord Stream 2 crosses the waters of five countries including Denmark, where there is around 160km left to lay.

GERMAN MPS’ VIEW

Back in December, several members of the German parliament’s energy committee spoke out against the US sanctions.

“If US sanctions are imposed, it will be necessary to both emphasise sovereignty and independence, and examine proportionate countermeasures in close cooperation with our European partners,” Dr. Joachim Pfeiffer, economic and energy policy spokesman for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, told ICIS.

“Germany cannot allow itself to be intimidated by Trump’s threats to block the Nord Stream 2 project that serve to promote his own interests in exporting American LNG fracking gas to Germany. If the US imposes sanctions that prevent the pipeline’s construction, the German government should react accordingly,” according to Alexander Ulrich, the Left Party spokesperson in the energy committee.