Work to lay Gazprom’s gas pipeline to Germany in Danish waters is due to start in late March. The mainline is expected to be ready by September’s end.

The Danish Energy Agency (DEA) has announced that the pipe-laying vessel Akademik Czerski is scheduled to join Nord Stream 2 construction in Denmark in late March. It will lay the first leg of Nord Stream 2 (Line A) under the Baltic Sea, while the Fortuna pipe-laying ship has already started construction of the second pipeline (Line B).

“Pipe laying is planned to resume in late March and will continue until the end of Q3 2020,” – The Danes inform, responding to a question from RIA Novost about the timeline for the construction of the controversial gas pipeline. Earlier on, as the global vessel positioning system MarineTraffic reported, the Akademik Cherski passed maritime and pre-operational tests in Kaliningrad.

Nord Stream 2 envisages the construction of two gas pipelines with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic metres. This will increase the total direct transport capacity from Russia to Germany of the northern gas pipeline (4 lines) to a record 110 billion cubic metres annually. The project is actively opposed by the United States, as well as Ukraine and a number of European Union countries, including Poland, which is buying more and more natural gas from the USA.

German media reported this week that Berlin decided to drag out talks with the US on Nord Stream 2 for so long to give Gazprom time to complete construction. Germany hopes that when the pipeline is ready, the Americans will lose their desire for new sanctions against those in involved in the project.

However, even after completion, which is realistic by the end of the year, Gazprom will have to meet two main requirements of the new gas directive. Firstly, it cannot manage a pipeline that it has built itself and which it supplies with raw material. Secondly, half of the industrial capacity is to remain at the disposal of third parties within the European Union.

The experts hold that if Gazprom can only use half of the 55 billion cubic metres of gas pipeline throughput, the entire investment of over EUR 10 billion will not pay off quickly. Western concerns from Germany, Austria, France and the Netherlands, which are financing the pipeline, may lend a helping hand here. If they take up half the capacity, the gas they import will also be Russian.

By Martin Chomsky (fot.: Gazprom)