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Pipeline to bring Russian gas to Europe is three-quarters complete

Pipeline to bring Russian gas to Europe is three-quarters complete
Nearly 2,000 kilometers of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a project to deliver natural gas from Russia to the European Union, now extend along the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

The construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline continues. So far, 1,882 kilometers [1,169 miles] of pipes have been laid along the bottom of the Baltic Sea – over 76% of Nord Stream 2’s total length,” Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom, which leads the project in partnership with European energy majors, said in a statement.

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The project involves the construction of two pipelines with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year, to extend from the Russian coast to Germany –and further on to other European customers– through the Baltic Sea.

Nord Stream 2 is planned to be completed by year’s end. The pipeline route has so far been laid through the territorial waters and the exclusive economic zones of Russia, Finland, Sweden and Germany. Only one remaining stretch of the pipeline, to be laid through Danish territorial waters, is pending official authorization.

Gazprom has had applications pending with the Danish authorities since April 2017, for approval to lay from 147 km to 175 km (90 miles to 109 miles) of pipes in Denmark’s Baltic waters. The country, however, has delayed greenlighting the construction, caught up in a political row between Germany, which has approved the pipeline long ago, and the United States, which is openly protesting the project, claiming it will inevitably deepen European reliance on Russian gas.

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Denmark’s delay in granting permission for the pipeline to pass through its territorial waters has been considered one of the main hurdles to completion of the project on schedule. However, according to Gazprom, if Copenhagen fails to approve the construction, the alternative route bypassing Danish waters would be just 34 kilometers longer than the original one. The company estimates it would take only seven additional days to build it.

Rainer Seele, chief executive of Austrian energy firm OMV, one of the Nord Stream 2’s investors, last week said work on the pipeline is expected to finish on time.

“The Nord Stream 2 company has clearly informed us that it is sticking to the schedule and the budget, and we have no reason to revise the plan in any way today,” he said, when asked if the launch of the pipeline at the end of 2019 was realistic.

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