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U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouilette believes Russia’s Gazprom will not be able to complete the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project on its own due to U.S. sanctions, Bloomberg reports, citing the official who spoke on the sidelines of an energy conference in Germany, the destination of Nord Stream 2.
“It’s going to be a very long delay, because Russia doesn’t have the technology,” Brouilette told Bloomberg in an interview. “If they develop it, we’ll see what they do. But I don’t think it’s as easy as saying, well, we’re almost there, we’re just going to finish it.”
Last month, after the U.S. levied sanctions on companies involved in the construction of the pipeline, Gazprom said it would complete the project on its own.
"The Nord Stream 2 project, which is already 94 percent complete, will be finished by the Russian side," the director-general of Gazprom Export told media in January.
The twin pipe of Nord Stream will carry an additional 55 billion cu m of Russian gas to Europe and more specifically, Germany, whose gas hunger is growing as it shuts down coal and nuclear power plants. The controversy around the project centers on Ukraine: Nord Stream bypasses the main transit corridor of Russian gas and could, the Ukrainians and the EU fear, reduce Ukraine’s gas transit revenues severely.
There is also the geopolitical factor, of course, with the U.S. claiming that the additional pipe will increase Russia’s influence in Europe to unacceptable levels.
Despite Brouilette’s upbeatness, not all agree that Nord Stream 2 can be stopped. According to experts, ICIS reported earlier this month, all difficulties around the projects are surmountable.
“Finishing the pipeline in the first quarter of 2021 could be realistic if Russia is able to restart construction works in the first half of 2020. But it will probably take up to twelve months to modernise the ship and this modernisation is intended to allow the ship to work on Sakhalin fields, actually not related to Nord Stream 2,” a Poland-based energy consultant, Mateusz Kubiak from Esperis Consulting, told ICIS.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.