Photo: Illustration; Source: Nord Stream 2 AG

Gazprom to resume Nord Stream 2 pipe-laying before year-end

Gas giant Gazprom has decided to resume pipe-laying work before the end of 2020 on a 2.6-kilometre part of the stalled Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.

According to a Reuters article, Nord Stream 2 AG, a subsidiary of Russia’s Gazprom and operator of the Nord Stream 2 offshore gas pipeline, will name the pipe-laying vessel it plans to use at a later date.

It did not say when the work would be finished or how the other remaining sections of the pipeline would be laid.

Work on the pipeline was halted last December when pipe-laying company Allseas suspended operations after U.S. sanctions targeted companies providing vessels to lay the pipes.

The resumption of activity comes after outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump, whose administration has staunchly opposed the pipeline, lost to president-elect Joe Biden in the presidential election earlier this month.

The pipeline, which Washington says compromises European energy security, has become a major bone of contention between Russia and the West and the relations between the two sunk to post-Cold War lows.

It is worth noting that the construction of the 1,230-kilometre pipeline is nearly finished but a final stretch of about 120 kilometres still needs to be laid in Danish waters.

Gazprom leads the $11 billion project but half of the funding comes from five European partners – Uniper, Wintershall Dea, Shell, OMV, and Engie.

The project is designed as two parallel 48-inch lines, roughly 1,200 kilometres long, each starting southwest of St. Petersburg and ending at German coast, Greifswald. It is designed to boost the amount of Russian gas that can be shipped to Europe without having to go through Ukraine.

The gas pipelines will have the capacity to transport 55 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Russian gas a year to the EU, for at least 50 years.

To remind, classification society DNV GL suspended work on Gazprom’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project just last week over fears of sanctions by the United States.