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Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline may start pumping gas to Europe this year, says Austrian energy major OMV

Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline may start pumping gas to Europe this year, says Austrian energy major OMV
Construction on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany is expected to be completed in August, with the first gas deliveries possible later this year, according to one of the major investors in the project, OMV.

I would like to keep my fingers crossed for the Nord Stream 2 construction work [to] be completed at the end of August. So, we believe that the gas may be flowing this year. There is a good chance of this happening,” the Austrian company’s CEO Rainer Seele said at a press briefing on Thursday.

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Seele welcomed the recent deal on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline reached between Germany and the United States, which has been opposed to the project.

Of course, I welcome the agreement between the US and Germany because it paves the way to the final completion and commissioning of the pipeline,” Seele stated. He emphasized that OMV sees the project as a means to provide Europe with safe access to natural gas, which in his view plays a major role in the continent’s energy transition.

The Nord Stream 2 project consists of two pipelines designed to carry some 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year from the Siberian gas fields in Russia across the Baltic Sea directly to Germany. The project has seen numerous roadblocks, with the US government threatening the companies and states involved in the construction with sanctions. Work on Nord Stream 2 even had to be suspended in December 2019 after one of its contractors, Swiss Allseas, abandoned pipe-laying operations amid pressure from Washington. In December 2020, however, construction resumed.

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A new deal regarding the pipeline was reached between Washington and Berlin last week, with the US offering to drop the sanctions and cease its interference in the final stages of Nord Stream 2’s set up. In exchange, it asked Germany to invest in Ukraine and help Kiev maintain its supposed ‘right’ to transit fees for Russian gas.

European states currently get most Russian gas via a Soviet-era pipeline going through Ukraine’s territory. Kiev fears that once Nord Stream 2 is ready, Russia could turn off the tap on its supplies, depriving Ukraine of billions of dollars in income from transit fees. 

Russia has repeatedly said these speculations are unfounded, but experts still predict a decrease in revenue for Kiev in the longer term, as Moscow pays hefty sums for the right to deliver its gas through Ukraine.

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