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Synopsis: A consensus on the Nord Stream 2 could benefit Germany, Russia and Ukraine, but many hurdles remain.
A 1224 km, underwater Nord Stream Pipeline 2 running from Germany to Russia across Baltic Sea has been completed recently despite controversies. It provides the shortest, economical and environment friendly route to double Russia’s gas export to Germany.
|Must read: Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Germany and Russia|
What is the utility of this pipeline?
According to Russian authorities, NS2 has the capacity to transport 55 billion cubic meters of gas each year. It can also cover the needs of about 26 million households, and restock storage inventories.
With the increase in European gas prices because of various reasons like severe winter, post covid economy surge, many industries and food supply chains are under stress. The pipeline is intended to provide Europe with a sustainable gas supply while providing Russia with more direct access to the European gas market.
What are the fears raised by other countries?
Ukraine: The pipeline has irked Ukraine, as they believe that Russia will use it as a geopolitical weapon aimed at depriving Ukraine of political traction and crucial revenue. Once the pipeline is completed, Russia could bypass the existing land pipeline between Russia and Europe that runs through Ukraine and deprive the country of lucrative transit fees.
Here USA seems to have ensured Ukraine that the USA will impose tougher sanctions on Russia if it continues to disregard Ukraine’s concerns
|Read more: Why has the US changed its mind on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline?|
Poland and Ukraine: They accused Germany of weakening the EU’s political unity and strategic coherence by giving Russia greater leverage through NS2.
Other European countries: Some European politicians accuse Russia of pressure to speed up the start of NS2. But Russian NS2 needs European certification to become operational. This is turning out to be a lengthy process.
What is the assistance provided to Ukraine?
To ease the tensions of Ukraine, Germany has promised assistance for the development of hydrogen energy. But Ukraine has doubts about this promise to be fulfilled.
Despite the uncertainty, Elections in Germany could make things easier if a coalition supporting green energy comes into power, then it could support cleaner gas alternatives compared to other fossil fuels.
Source: This post is based on the article “NS2 A win-win proposition” published in The Hindu on 4th October 2021.