Gas wars: The problem with Nord Stream 2 – BBC News
&# 171; Nord Stream-2&# 187; has already become gold for Russian taxpayers
Experts – about whether there is a chance for the completion of the project
The US Congress has approved an annual US defense bill, which provides for, among other things, tougher sanctions against the Russian Nord Stream 2 and Turkish Stream gas pipelines. The document may be put to a vote in the House of Representatives and the Senate as early as next week.
The new measures will affect insurance and certification companies providing services to participants in the Nord Stream 2 project. Restrictions are also imposed on companies installing welding equipment on ships involved in pipe-laying or involved in their modernization..
The bill is expected to pass despite threats of veto from President Donald Trump, who, in particular, demanded the inclusion of a clause in the initiative to repeal a law that protects technology companies from liability for most of the user content..
The previously imposed sanctions led to the suspension of the construction of a gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea. The Russian authorities have promised that the project will be completed by the end of 2019. Gazprom claims they can complete the construction of Nord Stream 2 on their own.
The Kremlin called the expansion of sanctions against the project an element of unfair competition and a violation of the principles of international trade, media reported, citing a statement by Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary of the Russian president. Peskov promised that Moscow will take measures to protect its interests.
If the project is completed, Russian natural gas supplies to Germany could double.
Mikhail Krutikhin: “Now in the world there is no such company that could challenge the US sanctions pressure”
Oil & Gas Analyst Mikhail Krutikhin believes that the main and practically insoluble problem of the project is that there is no one to lay pipes on the main remaining unfinished section of Nord Stream 2. In his opinion, everything else is secondary..
“Yes, for about 2.5 kilometers near the German coast, construction will obviously continue,” he suggested in an interview with the Russian service of the Voice of America. – Russian ships, which, in theory, can do something here, sailed from the raid of Kaliningrad and headed towards the island of Rügen, where they had been idle for quite a long time before. These are the Akademik Chersky pipelayer, auxiliary vessels and even the Vladislav Strizhev icebreaker. True, it is still unknown whether they will decide to act in the end. Another ship, “Fortuna”, is in the German port and does not move. Let us assume, however, that they will cope with the task assigned to them. But it’s even ridiculous to talk about it, because it’s impossible to connect this section of the route with the end of the pipeline thrown in Danish waters ”.
If one of these vessels enters the waters of Denmark, then automatically they and their owners will fall under American sanctions, Mikhail Krutikhin stated..
“Here you have to understand that we are talking about real owners, not nominal ones,” he said. – For Akademik Chersky, this is Gazprom, which transferred ownership of an unknown tiny company (as in the case of Fortuna) in the hope of evading sanctions. But it will not be the new owners who will be punished under American law, but the one who has done such tricks with the transfer of property rights. Now in the world there is no such company that could challenge the US sanctions pressure and continue the construction of the gas pipeline. In any case, I will be very surprised if one is found. “.
According to the analyst, such “convulsions” are needed so that Gazprom’s management can report to the Kremlin that they have done everything in their power to save the project: “They remember well the irritation and discontent with which Putin declared failure “South Stream”. And here you will not go anywhere – sooner or later you will have to report that the Northern Project-2 has completely failed. “.
So Gazprom’s managers just want to delay the hour of reckoning, and that’s why they are portraying vigorous activity, summed up Mikhail Krutikhin. According to him, over one hundred billion dollars was spent on the construction of a gas pipeline corridor stretching from the Yamal Peninsula within the framework of the project..
According to Bloomberg, more than 100 km of pipes remain to be laid within the project.
Oleg Buklemishev: “It was a strange story that could have been completely dispensed with”
President of the Association of Independent Centers for Economic Analysis Oleg Buklemishev thinks that completing the construction of Nord Stream 2, purely from the point of view of Russia’s national interest, does not give anything special. In his opinion, there have long been alternative routes for Russian gas on the way to Europe..
“This idea (with Nord Stream 2) has always been more political than commercial,” says the source of the Voice of America. “Therefore, it might be better to stop now and not invest even more funds in the project. It was a strange story that could have been completely dispensed with. “.
Of course, it’s a pity for the wasted money, the economist agrees. But, according to him, the prospects of the project, especially taking into account new potential sanctions, look extremely dubious: “I suspect that physically completing the pipeline has become even more difficult and burdensome. But since there are powerful lobbying forces behind this project – both from the Russian and German sides, I think every effort will be made to complete it. Although, I repeat, initially there was no practical sense in it – just like in the “Turkish Stream” “.
Attempts to complete the construction of Nord Stream 2 by all means will lead to even greater costs for Russian taxpayers, Oleg Buklemishev believes. It has already become truly gold, concluded the president of the Association of Independent Centers for Economic Analysis..