German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze denied reports of a billion-dollar “deal” with the U.S. on Nord Stream 2, noting that there was no “dirty deal.
Last September, it was reported that German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz allegedly offered the U.S. a deal. Germany could allegedly invest a billion euros in the U.S. liquefied natural gas industry in exchange for Washington’s concession on the Nord Stream 2 project, which would allow it to be completed and operated without U.S. sanctions pressure. At the time, the Finance Ministry did not comment on media reports with this information, citing, among other things, the secrecy of the negotiations. Another round of discussions about this story was provoked by the environmental organization Deutsche Umwelthilfe, which actively opposes the project, and the day before published a document that the German Finance Ministry allegedly sent to the United States with a corresponding proposal.
“I refute that there is some kind of dirty deal, there is no such thing. I strongly deny it, there is no dirty deal,” Schulze said, responding to a member of the Union 90/Green faction’s claim that such a deal allegedly exists.
In response to another deputy’s retort that the existence of a “deal” was confirmed by a document made public by Deutsche Umwelthilfe, the minister said: “Letters that one government sends to another government are agreed to, of course, in the government, but there is no deal that you describe.”
Schulze rejected further criticism of the draft concerning the Greens’ concerns about its compliance with climate policy. “We’re all united in the fact that we want to end the use of coal and nuclear power, we’re going to write off nuclear power plants. That means we’re going to need gas for the transition,” the minister explained.
She said the latest science shows that Germany will need gas “until about 2040.” “But for that time, we need gas and we need a lot of sources so that we can provide the most favorable conditions for consumers. I believe this is the right way and we can only provide this by using gas, and the alternatives – nuclear power from France or energy supplies from Poland – cannot. What is the point of stopping an agreed project, paying billions just to avoid completing the pipeline? The only thing that is crucial is how much gas we will end up using. We’re trying to reduce that (gas consumption), we’re doing it with all fossil sources, we’re doing it with coal, we’re writing off nuclear power plants, but we need gas for a transitional period. If you have an alternative to that, let’s discuss it. Research says we need gas for a transitional period,” she added.
“Nord Stream 2” involves the construction of two strings of gas pipeline with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year from the Russian coast through the Baltic Sea to Germany. The project is actively opposed by the U.S., which promotes its liquefied natural gas to the EU, as well as Ukraine and several European countries. The U.S. imposed sanctions against the pipeline in December 2019, forcing Switzerland’s Allseas to halt the laying.
It continued a year later – in December 2020, the pipe-laying vessel Fortuna laid 2.6 kilometers of pipes in German waters. According to Nord Stream 2 AG (project operator), approximately 148 kilometers of the pipeline were left unfinished out of a total length of 2,460 kilometers – 120 kilometers remain to be laid in Danish waters and about 28 kilometers in German waters. The Danish authorities have agreed on the option to lay with the Fortuna as of 15 January, the German permits for this vessel are valid until the end of May.