The only hope of Gazprom for the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the Akademik Chersky pipe layer, came in confusing tracks from the Far East to the Baltic under the protection of three Russian fleets, anchoring off its native coast. But the real thriller – in the light of the EU’s attempts to make the gas pipeline half empty, and the United States – to ban its use in general – is just beginning.
So it happened. The Akademik Cherskiy pipe-laying vessel, the only vessel capable of building the Nord Stream-2 pipeline at least in a semi-spiral way from the Far East under the escort of the Russian Navy to prevent robbery by the US and British navies, anchored off the coast of the Kaliningrad region. The vessel is refueled and takes on board an additional crew. After retrofitting is one of the Russian ports, the pipe layer will be ready to continue, in accordance with its capabilities, to complete the completion of almost 94% of the largest Russian-European energy project, which was abandoned by Western Gazprom contractor companies, fearing formidable American sanctions.
Since the first person of Russia promised in the face of the whole world to complete the project at the end of this – the beginning of next year, no one doubts that it will be completed sometime. But what will happen then, now no one knows.
Not built yet, but stepson already
Doubts about the future of Nord Stream 2 are caused by the fact that, as it turns out, they are not really waiting for him in Europe. Despite the fact that a number of countries, especially potentially transit ones, are openly hostile to it. And the point is not only that the costs of the already imposed American sanctions have been kindly transferred by the European partner companies of Gazprom to Russia. There were also questions about the determination of the government of Germany, the main European beneficiary of the project, to resist the increasing pressure of the USA and the wiles of Brussels, that is, the EU leadership, in which Berlin seems to be playing the first violin, directed against the Nord Stream – 2.
This happened after the Federal Grid Agency of Germany (BNetzA), under a Jesuit pretext, decided to refuse Nord Stream 2 AG to withdraw Nord Stream-2 from the requirements of the updated EU Gas Directive, the very appearance of which was an attempt to link Gazprom hands. To remove the gas pipeline from the scope of this no less Jesuit directive, it was supposedly necessary that the project is completed by May 2019, and now it is no longer possible to do so. So, after commissioning, which now requires a number of tricks, the gas pipeline can be used only at 50%. Which makes it, to put it mildly, not very profitable.
The Federal Network Agency informed the business community of Germany Handelsblatt that for the time being the draft decision, but that after consultations with interested parties after May 8, it will become final. And then Nord Stream 2 AG, the project operator, will have to sue the regulator in the Higher Land Court in Düsseldorf or immediately in the European Court, where Russia is so “loved”.
Of course, the operator of Nord Stream 2 does not agree with the opinion of BNetzA, will wait for the official decision of the regulator, evaluate it and, according to its press service, take further actions to protect its rights. That is, most likely, he will go to court, and it is clear with what result.
Why is that? Firstly, because the economic crisis is approaching more serious than the Great Depression when Europe does not need too much gas. Secondly, in 2019, European companies purchased almost twice as much liquefied gas (LNG), including from Russia, then a year earlier – 110 billion cubic meters after regasification.
But the main reason is different: in the USA, sanctions have been developed aimed at European buyers of Russian gas, which the Americans are assertively and brazenly, using blackmail and political pressure, are trying to replace in the European market with their more expensive liquefied gas.
Europeans and Germans, in particular, do not want to quarrel with the “hegemon”, although they are painfully experiencing such a boorish attitude. To risk blocking company accounts and terminating transactions through American payment systems – do they need it? “Throwing away” Russia is, therefore, the only way for them, the alternative of which is a collective (and it still needs to be organized) rebellion against Washington and a fierce trade war with the United States in a situation where everything flies into tartarracks anyway. Once it will have to be done anyway, because the blackmailer, once he succeeds, will act in the same spirit and further (the German auto industry is next in line), but, of course, not now.
All of this means that Russia, of course, will complete the gas pipeline – not to give up and not nullify billions of investments (their Russian part is about 5 billion euros) – at the bottom of the Baltic, to the delight of the United States, but there will be … no one to supply gas through it. At least for a while.
What to do to Russia?
What should Russia do in this situation? First of all, take your time and complete the gas pipeline as much as possible