Gazprom announced Nord Stream 2 is ready: challenges remain

Gazprom Nord Stream 2

Gazprom, the Russian energy company, announced this Friday that Nord Stream 2, its infamous pipeline running under the Baltic Sea to send natural gas to Germany, is finally over. The new segment of the pipeline would double Moscow’s gas exports to Germany. However, it would do so by circumventing Ukraine, which relies heavily on pipeline fees.

As we reported previously, the construction of the new segment of the pipeline took around five years and $11 billion to complete. The project faced several hurdles; including U.S. sanctions, on fears that the pipeline would be used as a weapon by Russia against Ukraine.

Indeed, the Ukrainian presidency opposed Nord Stream 2, which Volodymyr Zelensky described as a “dangerous geopolitical weapon,” according to the BBC. Consequently, several U.S. administrations; including Obama and Donald Trump, opposed the project and sanctioned heavily the parties involved on fears that Europe would become more reliant on Russian energy.

Upon Joe Biden’s entrance to the presidency, he lifted some of the sanctions, which was met with criticism. Senators argued that the annual Defense policy bill mandated to impose sanctions on the companies; and that works on the site were dangerous; as some unexploded bombs from World War II were laying on the seabed of Denmark, on which the companies had to work on the pipeline.

However, back in July, the U.S. government finally said it wouldn’t stop the project; announced an agreement with the German government. Following a discussion that took place upon the visit from Angela Merkel to D.C., Biden and she reached a consensus on the project.

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Gazprom requires certification from Germany; environmental groups oppose the pipeline

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at the time that Joe Biden said to Merkel that “the pipeline sparked concerns about how the project threatens European energy security; undermines Ukraine security, and the security of our Eastern Flank NATO allies and partners.”

Nevertheless, the pipeline was almost 98% done. Consequently, both governments reached an agreement; Biden acknowledged that imposing sanctions on the pipeline would’ve been counterproductive for bilateral relations with Germany.

As for this Friday, Gazprom announced that the pipeline is finally over. However, it still requires certification from the German energy regulator. Such a process could take up to four months, according to the BBC.

Finally, environmental groups in Germany oppose Gazprom’s Nord Stream 2. They argue that the pipeline is incompatible with Germany’s emissions goals in the battle against man-made climate change.

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