Nord Stream-2 pipeline will not make EU dependent on Russia — German lawmaker

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BERLIN, December 26. /TASS/. Russia and Europe depend on each other in energy supplies and the situation will remain unchanged when the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is put into operation, a lawmaker for the German Green party, Jurgen Trittin, said in an interview with Spiegel Online.

“Saying that it [Nord Stream 2] will make us dependent on Russia would be incorrect,” said Trittin, who was Germany’s Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety from 1998 to 2005. “The gas, which is being supplied via the pipeline, will result in mutual dependency, because the link between the supplier and the buyer is always strong. The supplier, however, is in a more dependent position, because the buyer may find other sources.”

According to the German lawmaker, it will be easier for Europe to find other suppliers of gas than for Russia to find other buyers.

Trittin added that it was impossible for him to imagine circumstances under which Russia may decide to halt its gas deliveries to Europe.

He explained Washington’s pressure on the Nord Stream 2 project by “pursuing its economic interests and following the ‘America First’ principle in the energy policy,” comparing the US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, to a “gatekeeper” who is promoting sales of US gas extracted by hydraulic fracturing (or fracking).

Speaking about the transit of Russian gas via the territory of Ukraine, the German lawmaker said Ukrainian infrastructure was “prone to breakdowns,” due to the lack of “necessary investment.”

 

About Nord Stream 2

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline will go through the exclusive economic zones and territorial waters of five countries – Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany, thus bypassing transit countries of Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and other Eastern European and Baltic states. Denmark is the only country that has not granted its permit for the construction of the pipeline in its waters. The country plans either to block or to postpone the implementation of the project.

Two threads of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline are expected to be built by the end of 2019. The project’s total capacity is 55 bln cubic meters of gas per year. The cost of construction is estimated at 9.5 bln euro.

Nord Stream 2 AG is the operator of the pipeline construction. Its sole stakeholder is Russia’s Gazprom. Gazprom’s European project partners are Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall, Austria’s OMV, France’s Engie, and Royal Dutch Shell (the UK and the Netherlands) that are to finance 50% of the project.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said earlier that the compliance with the construction schedule allows speaking about possible launch of gas supplies via the gas pipeline starting January 1, 2020.

 

German government’s stance

The German authorities have repeatedly said that they consider the Nord Stream 2 to be an economic project. However, it is important for Berlin that Ukraine maintains its status as a transit country after the second line of Nord Stream 2 starts operating. At the same time, Berlin urged the Kiev government to modernize its gas transit infrastructure.

Germany has repeatedly said that Nord Stream 2 would allow diversifying the country’s gas imports, which are becoming increasingly important as the country prepares to gradually reject nuclear power generation and switch to alternative sources of energy.

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