European diplomatic 'war' over the Nord Stream pipeline

European diplomatic 'war' over the Nord Stream pipeline

The underlying conflicts and conflicting interests in Europe on the occasion of the operation of the second part of the Nord Stream gas pipeline appear to come to surface.

All this, in the wake of the Russian president Vladimir Putin's speech, and Europe's growing dependence on Gazprom.

The Nord Stream pipeline (I and II) transports Russian gas to Germany.

The first section is already in operation and the second is due to be launched in the end of 2019.

One reason why Germany has recently discovered problems with the implementation of the South Stream pipeline, which, according to the plan, would transport Russian gas to the heart of Europe and Austria via the Balkans and bypassing Ukraine, was because it would lose the "privileges" offered by hosting the (unique) Nord Stream pipeline.

So far, with regard to the transport of Russian gas to southern and southeastern Europe, Gazprom has completed the construction of the Blue Stream pipeline under the Black Sea. However, this pipeline is, at present, aimed only at Turkey's energy market.

Poland and Lithuania hit the brakes on the Nord Stream pipeline

In the meantime, Poland's opposition is causing internal imbalance in Europe and in the energy planning of it that connects with the completion of the Nord Stream pipeline, according to a statement by the country's president, Andrzej Duda, as recorded by the Polish news agency.

"I'd just like to express my surprise that the EU – in particular the Western members I believe – want to become dependent on Gazprom, the Russian gas monopoly," arguing that Russia had used a reduction of its gas supplies as a "weapon in the hybrid war" against Ukraine.

According to Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, "Nord Stream 2 will contribute to 80% more dependence on Russia, while Russia's energy planning is a huge threat to the whole of the EU."

Germany, for its part, argues that it is purely a business choice, in the context of meeting the needs of the European gas market without further extensions.

Reactions in Germany

The consortium managing the Nord Stream pipeline has received the necessary approvals for the construction and operation of the project by the German authorities.

But the NABU environmental organisation is going to resort to German justice in order to prevent the start of the construction of Nord Stream II, denouncing arbitrariness and arguing that "Europe does not need Russian gas".

 

According to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, at the two leaders' joint press conference Morawiecki warned that NS2 could threaten energy diversification and that it was important "no side has a price monopoly", whereas Merkel defended NS2 saying that Germany views the pipeline as an "economic project" and that it believes "Nord Stream poses no danger to diversification."

It was highlighted that the permit had already been received for the construction and operation of the new gas pipeline’s offshore section in German territorial waters and the onshore section in the area of Lubmin near Greifswald.

Gazprom: Absolute export record in 2017

Gazprom set an absolute record for European gas exports in 2017 for the entire history of the Soviet and Russian gas industries.

This was announced by the vice-president of the gas holding Alexander Medvedev.

Exports reached 194.4 billion cubic meters.

Gazprom estimates its market share at 34.7%, the company said in a statement.

Gazprom's deputy head Alexander Medvedev said the company would have enough supplies for both Europe and Asia but it was time for Europe to decide where it should source gas as the continent’s demand was rising and its production shrinking.

"Europe completely miscalculated when they assumed that they won’t need much additional gas and if they need some it can be supplied from outside Russia," Medvedev, who looks after exports for the world's top gas producer and exporter, said.../IBNA

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