UPDATE: Gazprom completes Nord Stream 2 pipe-laying off Germany
The Russian pipe-laying vessel Fortuna has completed the 2.6-kilometre pipeline stretch of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline offshore Germany.
UPDATED ON TUESDAY, 29 December 2020:
The Russia-led Nord Stream 2 consortium told Reuters on Monday that it completed laying pipes for the project in German waters.
This meant that the work on a 2.6-kilometre-long portion of the pipeline – which was stalled due to a threat of U.S. sanctions – was finished.
“We have completed this work”, the consortium said in an emailed statement to the media outlet, referring to the pipe-laying in the German economic zone.
According to AIS data from Monday, the Fortuna vessel left the construction site and is now heading for the north German port of Wismar.
The vessel resumed work on the pipeline earlier this month. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline will pump gas directly from Russia to western Europe, bypassing Ukraine and, according to the U.S., “robbing” it of lucrative transit fees. Work was suspended for a year due to the risks of sanctions from the United States.
According to Reuters, the Fortuna pipelayer is meant to continue construction of the pipeline in Danish waters next month.
The U.S. government already announced that it was preparing wider sanctions for the Russian gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2 and is urging European allies to stop the work that could help build the pipeline.
Washington believes that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline compromises European energy security and its construction has become a major bone of contention between Russia and the U.S.
The pipeline, estimated to cost $11.6 billion, has become a flashpoint in relations between Russia and the West, which have sunk to post-Cold War lows.
The Kremlin said last week that new U.S. sanctions targeting Nord Stream 2 could complicate the completion of the stalled Russian gas pipeline to Germany, but that Moscow and European nations had an interest in it being built.
The consortium building the pipeline still has to lay more than 100 kilometres of pipeline, although more than 90 per cent of the project has been completed.
The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project is led by Russian giant Gazprom with half of the funding coming from five European partners – Germany’s Uniper, BASF’s Wintershall, Anglo-Dutch Shell, Austria’s 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.
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.