German econ min warns Nord Stream 2 stop could damage trust in large-scale projects
German economy minister Peter Altmaier has cautioned against stopping the contentious natural gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2, as such a move would send the wrong signal to investors of large-scale projects and the EU would need increased gas imports over the coming years. In an interview with Handelsblatt, he said that while the question of whether or not to stop the pipeline is “not in the hands of a single minister, I have always believed that it is problematic to call into question projects that span several decades every few months. Otherwise, private investors will no longer be willing to commit themselves.” Altmaier said the EU would have to import more natural gas in the coming years as domestic production decreases and the fuel would become more important “for a transition period” as coal and nuclear power plants are taken offline. “We must ask ourselves where the gas will come from in the future.”
Altmaier has already said sanctions on Russia in reaction to the suspected poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny would be unlikely to alter the Russian government’s stance. Germany has been debating halting the pipeline project, which is contested by stakeholders in Germany, several neighbouring countries as well as the United States government. Nord Stream 2 has now been almost completed, only lacking the last 120 km connection to the German Baltic coast. It is to transport natural gas directly from Russia to Germany through a twin pipeline underneath the Baltic Sea. A large majority of Germans oppose an exit from the pipeline.