Europe will no longer need Russian gas in twenty-five years, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a meeting with Ukraine's president, Vladimir Zelenski.
"Europe will need to achieve climatic neutrality step by step by 2050," Merkel said, as quoted by TASS. "It means that in 25 year[s] no gas, or very small volumes of gas, will be supplied to Europe from Russia."
At the same time, the German Chancellor told her Ukrainian partner that Germany will make sure Russia continues shipping natural gas through Ukraine even after Nord Stream 2 enters into operation. In case Russia tries to use the pipeline as a weapon against other countries, Merkel said, Germany would propose EU sanctions against Moscow.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will double the capacity of the already existing gas pipe under the Baltic Sea to Germany, has become a major bone of contention in Europe, with the U.S. also joining the fray.
The European Union and the United States have opposed the Nord Stream 2 project, citing concerns about Russia using gas sales and its gas monopoly Gazprom as a political tool. Poland, several other EU countries, and the United States have seen Nord Stream 2 as further undermining Europe's energy security by giving Gazprom another pipeline to ship its natural gas to European markets. Germany has looked at the project from a business perspective mostly.
But last month, the United States and Germany said they had reached a deal over the controversial pipeline, clearing the way for the completion of the project and handing Germany a decisive victory in the matter.
The U.S. and Germany said that their "commitment is designed to ensure that Russia will not misuse any pipeline, including Nord Stream 2, to achieve aggressive political ends by using energy as a weapon."
Russia has insisted that the pipeline is a purely business venture, and Gazprom's chief executive Alexei Miller has reiterated that the company will continue transiting gas through Ukraine. If Merkel is correct, however, and Europe will need no more gas in 25 years, Ukraine would do well to diversify its revenue streams. Merkel advised Zelenski to bet on green energy.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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It is possible she wanted to calm down Ukraine’s president Vladimir Zelenski who is worried that with the completion of Nord Stream 2, Russia might be tempted to stop shipping its gas through Ukraine to the EU. The German Chancellor assured the Ukraine President that Germany will make sure Russia continues shipping natural gas through Ukraine even after Nord Stream 2 enters into operation.
President Putin has already said that Russia will continue to ship gas through Ukraine for the next five years as per the 5-year agreement the two countries signed in December 2020 and could extend the agreement longer provided Ukraine refrains from trying to join the EU or NATO. If it does, it would cross a redline meaning its existence as an independent country could be in question.
Nord Stream 2 is a fait accompli. It is built and it is projected to supply 4.8 billion tons of Russian natural gas to Germany and the EU this year.
And contrary to the false claim by the author of this article, the EU didn’t oppose the Nord Stream 2. It was Poland and the Baltic States who opposed it because of their anti-Russia stance and also because they were incited by the United States.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London