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07 Sep 2021, 13:57
Benjamin Wehrmann

Operator says Nord Stream 2 pipeline almost complete, bets on quick start of operations

Clean Energy Wire / Die Welt

The operator of the controversial gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 has announced that the project is almost complete. The last pipe segments connecting Germany and Russia through the Baltic Sea have successfully been welded onboard a construction vessel in the region, operator Nord Stream 2 AG said. “As the next step, the section of the pipe coming from the German shore will be connected to the section coming from the Danish waters in a so-called above water tie-in,” a spokesperson said. The company added that pre-commissioning activities will follow swiftly, with the goal to start operation and transfer gas “under sensible economic conditions” from Russia to Europe before the end of the year. Licenses needed for operation issued by German authorities are still pending.

The pipeline, which has irked many of Germany’s European neighbours as well as the USA, has also been discussed controversially within Germany over fears it could give Russia decisive leverage in energy policy and will run counter to national and EU climate targets. Sanctions imposed by the US congress have severely hampered the pipeline’s construction, which was originally slated to be finished in late 2019. State premier Manuela Schwesig (SPD) of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, where the pipeline makes landfall, has welcomed the company’s implementation report, according to a report in newspaper Die Welt. “Sticking by this project has been the right decision by our state government,” Schwesig said, referencing direct sanction threats issued by US Republicans against local representatives who were involved in the project. “This natural gas pipeline is needed for Germany’s energy transition,” she added, arguing that the exit from coal and nuclear power left the country no choice but to rely on gas as a bridge technology.

The pipeline, which runs parallel to the existing Nord Stream 1, is expected to deliver enough gas to supply 26 million households, according to the operator. Half of the ten billion euros investment costs for Nord Stream 2 were provided by Russian state company Gazprom and the other half by five European companies, OMV, Wintershall Dea, Engie, Uniper and Shell. 

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