Austrian OMV, a partner of the Nord Stream-2 project, expects the gas pipeline to be laid in German waters by the end of the year. Such deadlines were announced by Chief Executive Officer of the company Rainer Seele at the press conference “Business Climate Survey in Russia – Economic Development Prospects 2021”.
According to him, in January of the following year, the season unfavorable for laying pipelines on the bottom due to changes in water levels will begin. TASS writes that Seele explained the need to take into account the flora and fauna factor in January.
He said he was not devoted to all the details of the process and recommended contacting the operator for details.
At the German ports of Sassnitz and Mukran, there is an active loading of pipes and the preparation for the continuation of the work is noticeable, the OMV head added. He did not specify how exactly they will continue laying and at what speed.
“Nord Stream – 2” is a gas pipeline that should connect Russia with Germany on the bottom of the Baltic Sea. The route length is more than 1,200 km, the new pipeline will have a capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year. At first it was reported that the cost of the project was € 9.9 billion. Later, according to The New York Times, it rose to almost $ 11 billion. As of December 2019, 93.5% of the pipeline had been completed, said the official representative of the project operator – the company Nord Stream 2 AG – Jens Muller.
The authorities of the USA, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia consider the “Nord Stream 2” as a threat to energy security in Europe.
The construction of the gas pipeline was frozen because in December 2019 the USA imposed sanctions against European contractors involved in the project. Immediately after that, the Swiss company Allseas suspended the construction of Nord Stream-2 and withdrew its pipe-laying vessels from the Baltic Sea. “Gazprom announced that Russian pipelayers had been engaged to complete the project.
On September 1, German Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed that Nord Stream-2 was feasible despite threats from the USA. On September 8, she said she would coordinate any actions against Russia due to the poisoning of Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny with European partners, but had not yet decided whether they would affect the pipeline construction. On September 11 the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Heiko Maas stated that the construction of gas pipeline “Nord Stream – 2” may be frozen as a reaction to Navalny’s poisoning, but already on October 17 he announced that the gas pipeline would be completed.
Joe Biden, a U.S. presidential candidate from the Democratic Party, who gained the biggest number of votes, stated his tough position with respect to “North stream – 2”. He wants to stop this project forever.
On December 8, the House of Representatives of the US Congress supported the draft defense budget of the country for 2021, which toughens sanctions against the gas transportation project “Nord Stream – 2”.
The expanded restrictions against Nord Stream 2 target a wide range of companies, including insurance, reinsurance, testing, inspection or certification providers, “as needed or essential to complete such projects. Under the bill, suppliers of services or equipment for upgrading technology or installing pipe-laying vessel welding equipment are also at risk of U.S. sanctions. Some 120 companies from more than 12 European countries are reported to be affected.
The specially equipped Russian vessel Akademik Chersky failed to complete the gas pipeline and set off for Kaliningrad on November 27. The ship was sent to Russia because the Norwegian company Det Norske Veritas – Germanischer Lloyd hired by “Gazprom” for certification of “Nord Stream-2” could not check the ship and its equipment due to the US sanctions.
A representative of Nord Stream 2 AG almost immediately announced plans to resume the pipeline construction from December 5. On December 5, the U.S. Embassy in Berlin called on the German government to stop the construction of Nord Stream 2.
On December 7, it became known that the gas pipeline laying in German waters may be continued by a specialized barge Fortuna flying the Russian flag.