Construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is already 99 percent complete, the Russian-German project is expected to finish on August 23. Gas prices in Europe fell sharply after the news was published, Reuters and Deutsche Welle reported on Thursday.
The project’s operator, Nord Stream 2 AG, declined to give a completion date, but said the pipeline-laying barge Fortuna was working on the final elements of the structure.
The company’s CEO Matthias Warnig said in an interview with German daily Handelsblatt in July that construction should be completed by the end of August.
Earlier on Thursday, Gazprom said it hoped to deliver 5.6 bcm of gas through Nord Stream 2 as early as 2021. This means that the corporation expects the first line of NS2 to start operating in October, the daily Kommiersant writes.
In a press release on the company’s activity results from January to July this year Gazprom said that 5.6 bcm of gas could be delivered through Nord Stream 2 in 2021. After the announcement, gas prices on the European market recorded a significant drop.
According to “Kommiersant”, the announcement means that Gazprom expects to launch the first line of Nord Stream 2 no later than mid-October. The construction of this line was completed in June. The daily is based on the assumption that the first line will allow the transmission of about 78 million cubic metres of gas per day.
In order to launch the first line of the pipeline, it is necessary to complete the technical certification process, check the airtightness of the pipeline and fill the pipe with gas. However, the certification process is hampered by US sanctions imposed on the project.
On 28 July this year, pipeline operator Nord Stream 2 AG announced that the project was 99 per cent complete. Media in Russia estimated at the time that final work would take three to four weeks.
Nord Stream 2, a twin pipeline system leading from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea, is expected to transport 55 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year. The construction of the Russian-German pipeline is opposed by Poland, Ukraine, the Baltic States and the USA. Critics of Nord Stream 2 argue, among other things, that the project will increase Europe’s dependence on Russian gas and expand the Kremlin’s influence on European politics.