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14 Nov, 2017 14:27

EU red tape tying up Russian gas pipeline could be attempt to sabotage project – PM Medvedev

EU red tape tying up Russian gas pipeline could be attempt to sabotage project – PM Medvedev

The European Union's excessive regulation regarding Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany could be an attempt to force Russia to scrap the project, according to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

"Our approach to the implementation of this project has not changed so far: this is not a political tool, this is a regular commercial project, aimed at safeguarding Europe's energy security," Medvedev said, as quoted by the Interfax news agency.

Russia plans to build Nord Stream 2 under the Baltic Sea to Germany and double the existing pipeline's capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year.

The project has faced fierce resistance from some EU members, especially from the Baltic States and Poland. They say the pipeline will cut gas transit through Ukraine and will result in a Russian monopoly in the EU gas market.

Russia’s Gazprom is running the project through a company called Nord Stream 2 AG. The pipeline is going to cost €9.5 billion. Initially, Gazprom intended to have 50 percent plus one share in the company, with the rest of the shares divided between Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall, Austrian OMV, France’s Engie and Anglo-Dutch Shell. US sanctions against Russia and European red tape stopped the companies from participating in the project directly.

However, Gazprom’s Western partners have remained committed to the pipeline and finance for the project. On Tuesday, Wintershall CEO Mario Mehren once again confirmed the company’s participation in the project and willingness to fund it.