Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Friday that the first two lines of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline on the Baltic Sea have been completed. Petersburg International Economic Forum, he said that work on the first line has been completed and the laying of pipelines, and that the Russian gas company Gazprom is ready to fill the line. On the Russian side, the pipeline is ready to go. Gazprom shares are about to jump.
The authorities had informed them earlier that trial operations on the Russian part of the line would begin next week. Putin stressed that Russia is ready to continue implementing such international projects as Nord Stream 2. At the economic meeting, which was also attended by former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, the head of the Kremlin said that the second stage could be completed in two months. Then the filling depends on the permission of the German authorities.
“It is a purely economic and commercial project,” Putin said, referring to political criticism of the Baltic Sea pipeline. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said he was optimistic that the gas pipeline would be completed. This is good for Russia because Europe buys a lot of gas from the country. In Europe, Nord Stream 2 guarantees energy security, said the Austrian politician who was linked to the video.
The Russian president accused the United States of pursuing its economic interests primarily by resisting Nord Stream 2. The United States offers its gas, obtained by fracking and then liquefied, as an alternative in the European Union. Putin stressed that Russian pipeline gas is “cleaner, cheaper and more reliable” than the US product.
Direct transportation from Russia to Germany is also cheaper – bypassing Ukraine, the most important transit country to date. Asked if Ukraine was losing significant income from transit fees, Putin said Russia was not responsible for “feeding” the neighbour. Ukraine has repeatedly called for sanctions on the project.
A Nord Stream 2 AG spokesperson confirmed that the first pipeline was completed on Friday. “The laid sections of the pipeline must be connected to each other,” said spokesman Stephen Ebert of the German news agency DPA. The necessary pre-commissioning activities will then be carried out. “Work will continue to extend the other wires.”