The construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is nearing its end. According to the operator of this pipeline between Russia and Germany, the investment is 99 per cent complete. Construction is scheduled to be completed at the end of August.

Nord Stream 2 AG has announced that the vessel Akademik Cherskiy has finished laying the pipes on the bottom of the Baltic Sea. The other Russian vessel, the barge Fortuna, is completing the laying of its part of the gas pipeline.

Construction of Nord Stream 2

According to information provided by the operator, less than 25 km of the pipeline remain to be laid, which will take between three and four weeks, the Russian journal Kommersant estimated. Fortuna can lay up to 1km of pipes in one day. The completion of Nord Stream 2 is planned for the end of August.

In June, the operator announced the completion of the offshore section of the first line of Nord Stream 2. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on 4 June that construction of the second line could be completed within two months.

The new gas pipeline from Russia to Greifswald in Germany will allow the Russian company to increase its gas transport capacity through the Baltic Sea to a total of 110bn m³ per year. Through the infrastructure in Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria, it will be possible to transport Russian gas to Central Europe, which could allow for a reduction in natural gas transit via routes through Poland and Ukraine.

The 1,230km pipeline spans the two ends of the Baltic Sea. Nord Stream 2 will transport Russian natural gas through the Baltic Sea to the rest of the European market. It has a total annual capacity of 55bn m³ of gas. Nord Stream 2 is estimated to cost €8 billion to build and is expected to deliver gas to Europe for at least 50 years. The pipeline is expected to supply almost 26 million households. The gas delivered by the pipeline is equivalent to the supply of 600-700 LNG ships. 

Key infrastructure

The East German Economy Committee continues to take the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as key infrastructure for German and European energy supplies.

“In the short term, the pipeline will help us catch up on the sharply declining gas production within the Netherlands and Norway and also the increasing demand for gas because of the phasing out of coal and nuclear. Within the medium term, the pipeline also has great potential to move hydrogen and further develop our energy partnership with Russia in an exceedingly climate-friendly way,” said President of the German Eastern Business Association, Oliver Hermes.

In his view, anyone who now rejects Russia as Europe’s most important energy supplier and puts approved projects on hold will also lose the country as a climate protection partner.

Positive impacts of Nord Stream 2 pipeline

The decline in production capacity in Europe cannot meet the growing net demand, and the Nord Stream 2 helps to reduce natural gas prices in the European Union.

Moreover, Ukraine’s main pipelines are nearing the end of their lifespan, and viable alternatives are lacking, this will in turn put an end to the uncertainty of Ukraine’s transit routes.

By 2035, the EU will need to import an additional 120bn m³ of natural gas each year.

The production prospects of major natural gas producing countries, such as the Netherlands and the United Kingdom and Norway, are declining. At the same time, the demand for natural gas is expected to continue due to its lower carbon quality. This means that the EU will need to import more natural gas. Nord Stream 2 will be able to meet approximately one-third of EU import requirements.

Generating electricity from gas instead of coal

The switch from coal to gas-fired power generation could help the EU meet its target of reducing CO₂ emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline could reduce the EU’s total CO₂ emissions from power generation by around 14 per cent if gas from the pipeline were wont to replace coal-fired power stations.

The pipeline will transport enough gas to supply 26 million households

Nord Stream 2 can make a significant contribution to the EU’s energy security but would require more additional supplies to shut the gap between future EU supply and demand. The new pipeline will complement existing transportation routes and complement other new gas supplies, like liquefied gas (LNG) and also the South Corridor.

One of the longest gas pipelines in the world

Nord Stream 2 will run through the Baltic Sea, leaving the Russian coast and reaching land near Greifswald in Germany. It’ll run roughly parallel to the existing Nord Stream gas pipeline.

The proportion of Russian gas in total EU energy consumption

Nord Stream 2 is based on more than 40 years of energy co-operation between Russia and Europe. Russia is the world’s largest natural gas exporter, and a large amount of long-term investment means that Russia’s reserves are one of the most profitable sources of supply to Europe. The EU has a diversified energy structure, and Russia’s natural gas only accounts for a small part of the total energy supply.