Photo: Illustration; Source: Nord Stream 2

Nord Stream 2 hits home stretch with 100 kilometres left to go

Five years after the start of construction, the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea is nearly complete with just 100 kilometres left to build.

According to Reuters, Russian deputy prime minister Alexander Novak told news agency TASS on Thursday that the construction works on Nord Stream 2 would be completed by the end of the year.

This just confirmed a statement given by Chairman of the Board of Directors of Russia’s gas producer Gazprom Viktor Zubkov in late March that the pipeline would ‘definitely’ be completed in 2021.

The work on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is more than 95 per cent complete as the pipelaying enters the final 100-kilometre stretch.

At the end of last month, pipelayer Fortuna has started work on the last 30 kilometres of pipes in German waters. It previously worked on Nord Stream 2 pipelaying off Denmark and was later joined by the Akademik Cherskiy.

After completing its stint in Germany, the vessel will rejoin the Akademik Cherskiy to continue work off Denmark which has a much longer stretch of pipeline left.

Nord Stream 2 will also soon enter the test phase according to a statement made by the Leningrad Region Governor Alexander Drozdenko.

TASS quoted Drozdenko as saying: “Yesterday there was an inspection of Russian facilities in the Leningrad Region, in the Kingisepp District, which will start working in test mode starting next week to prepare the launch of gas on the German side“.

The statement followed a meeting on Wednesday morning where Drozdenko met with Gerhard Schroeder and Matthias Warnig, German representatives in the Nord Stream 2 project.

We were just discussing that the project has entered the home stretch. [Prime Minister of the German federal state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania] Manuela Schwezig is one of the few who have consistently defended the interests of both Germany and our interests in continuing construction of the project all this time“.

There is still opposition to the project, even though it is nearly complete and although the United States waived sanctions on Nord Stream 2 and President Joe Biden claiming that further sanctions would be counter-productive’ for European relations.

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Another reason for Biden waiving sanctions was that, according to him, the project was ‘almost completely finished’ by the time he took office.

One of the opposers is the environmental group Deutsche Umwelthilfe which applied for Nord Stream 2’s construction and operating permit to be revoked on climate protection grounds, based on a ruling by Germany’s top constitutional court.

As for the project, the $11 billion-worth Nord Stream 2 is designed as two parallel 48-inch lines, roughly 1,200 kilometres long, each starting southwest of St. Petersburg and ending at the German coast at Greifswald.

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