Sunday, 24 March 2019 10:43 GMT
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Pipe-laying for Nord Stream 2 to be launched soon



(MENAFN - AzerNews) By Leman Mammadova

The launch of the pipe-lay of the North Stream-2 at the seabed of the Baltic Sea in Finland will begin on December 17, according to the website of Nord Stream 2 AG.

"Pioneering Spirit" pipe-lay vessel will join Nord Stream 2 construction fleet to enter the Baltic Sea via the Great Belt Bridge in Denmark.

This vessel will start laying pipes in Finnish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) next week. It is noted that the vessel will stop in Denmark for a few days to carry out mobilization work, after which it will proceed to the Finnish EEZ to be further involved in the project activities.

Pioneering Spirit belongs to the Swiss company Allseas, which signed an agreement with Nord Stream 2 for the pipe-laying of the undersea part of Nord Stream-2 in April this year.The vessel was previously used in laying pipes at the seabed in the "Turkish Stream" project.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, implemented by the Russian gas giant Gazprom, is expected to come into service at the end of 2019. The pipeline is set to run from the Russian coast along the Baltic Sea bed to the German shore. With the total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas (more than a quarter of Gazprom's export), each of the pipeline's two stretches will have a capacity of 27.5 bln cubic meters. The aggregated design capacity of Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 is therefore 110 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The new pipeline will double the capacity of the first stretch and will basically follow its route. The total cost of the pipeline is estimates at 9.5 billion euros.

At present, Eastern Europe mainly imports gas from Russia's energy giant Gazprom. Russian gas enters Europe via several gas pipelines. Some of them pass through the territory of Ukraine, and some go through the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Gazprom's share in gas exporters to Europe was 43 percent last year.

The 1220-kilometer-long North Stream 2 pipeline expects Russia to double the volume of gas it transfers to Western Europe.

The launch of the Nord Stream-2 pipeline will allow European consumers to save at least 7.9 billion euros per year on energy resources. German experts have calculated that from 2020 European consumers will save about 7.9 billion euros per year, after Nord Stream-2 is completed, and if the global demand for LNG grows, this figure may increase to 24.4 billion euros. According to statistics, a third of Germany's population spends more than 10 percent of their incomes on electricity.

This gas pipeline is twice shorter than the current line from Ukraine to Germany. From this point, the price of transit will be cheaper.

Defining North Stream 2 as a political instrument, the United States strongly condemned Germany's signing of the Nord Stream-2 gas deal with Russia, claiming that Europe's gas dependence on Russia will increase further. The U.S. also stated that Russia will further bolster the military presence in the Baltic Sea, under the pretext of protecting the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

The U.S. House of Representatives urges European countries to abandon construction of North Stream-2 project to transport gas from Russia to Europe. A resolution adopted by both parties says that the pipeline is a radical step back in Europe's energy security and U.S. interests.

Speaking about energy security, some of the European countries are meant to be protected from Russia, while the rest mainly consider import diversification. In this challenging situation, the key country is Germany that is interested in buying Russian gas. However, Germans want to find solutions that would not complicate their relations with the U.S. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the North Stream-2 project would be accepted only if Russian gas supplies willnot cut off from Ukraine.

The U.S. increases oil and gas imports to Europe, while Germany is preparing to build a new terminal to buy gas from the United States. Such a terminal has already been built in Poland and Lithuania, and last year Poland purchased the first gas from the United States.

Norbert Röttgen, the chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the German Bundestag,recently expressed his views that the German government should change its immediate attitude towards the North Stream 2 as the pipeline creates negative risks in terms of geopolitical consequences. Construction of the gas pipeline may lead to the appearance of the Crimean highway. The fact that it does not seem convincing that the project has commercial goals.

Meanwhile, Russia is eager to establish new energy routes in which Ukraine will not be a transit country. Russian President Vladimir Putin told Chancellor Angela Merkel during his visit to Germanythis September that Russia is ready to fund this project alone if the U.S. imposes sanctions on other North Stream 2 participants. Deutsche Welle writes that even if Russia is able to fund the North Stream 2 gas pipeline alone, it is hardly possible referring to the European Antimonopoly Law.

Ukraine is strongly against the project assessing it as a tool to undermine the EU's unity and to reduce the level of security in the region.

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Pipe-laying for Nord Stream 2 to be launched soon

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