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Russia's gas giant Gazprom plans to commission the controversial natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 this year, Russian news agency TASS reported on Thursday, quoting a presentation of a Gazprom executive at an energy forum in Russia.
Last month, Gazprom was said to have warned investors that the Nord Stream 2 project could be suspended or entirely discontinued due to extraordinary circumstances, including "political pressure."
Germany has always looked at the Russia-led project from an economic standpoint, while the United States, several European countries, including the Baltic states, Poland, and the European Union (EU), have expressed concern about Russia using gas sales and its gas monopoly Gazprom as a political tool.
Over the past months, the U.S. has been broadening the sanctions against service providers and those funding vessels involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2 in a fresh attempt to prevent the project from completing. There is still a stretch of the pipeline route to be laid in the sea in Danish waters, but the U.S. is now targeting anyone helping the project's completion in any way.
Last month, the Trump Administration imposed sanctions on the Russian pipe-laying vessel that was expected to complete the construction of Nord Stream 2, while several Western companies are said to have abandoned links to the project for fear of sanctions.
Related Video: Weaponized Gas or Bridge to Cleaner Fuel? The Nord Stream Game
President Joe Biden "continues to believe that Nord Stream 2 is a bad deal for Europe," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a briefing at the end of January.
"We're aware that the previous administration imposed new restrictions on activities related to the pipeline under the National Defense Authorization Act, and we will be reviewing those measures," Psaki said.
Meanwhile, Dmitry Medvedev, former prime minister and now Deputy Chair of Russia's Security Council, said earlier this month that Russia could turn to a national or contract jurisdiction court to protect its interests against interference against the completion of the Nord Stream 2 project.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.
The United States knows full well that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is unstoppable no matter how more sanctions it adds against it. Moreover, Putin’s Russia will never succumb to pressure from the United States and will do whatever it takes to ensure that Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is completed.
With 96% of the 1230-km long pipeline already completed and with billions of dollars already spent on constructing it, the prospects of President Putin or Gazprom abandoning the pipeline are unthinkable.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London