The pipeline would double the amount of gas Russia could deliver via the Baltic Sea to Germany. While the economies of European countries will enter a period of uncertainty and instability and may quickly lose competitiveness without Russian energy, the EU is unfased by the dismal prospect.
According to Brussels, Europe does not need a Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline, because in the future the consumption of “blue fuel” in the EU will decrease. On Wednesday, the European Commission proposed changing legislation to apply EU energy rules to all new and existing import pipelines, including Nord Stream 2.
The EU believes that there is already “a well-developed infrastructure for gas imports” in place. A calculation for the “expected competitiveness of LNG shipments after 2020” was also included in the document.
And because of the “well-developed” infrastructure, the European Commission “does not see the need for a new infrastructure as large as the Nord Stream II”. And finally, the EU “will continue to support” the preservation of the transit of Russian gas to the EU via Ukraine.
The amendments to the EU Gas Directive published in Brussels maintain that, despite stable growth of gas supplies from Russia to Europe via existing pipelines, these supplies will decline due to the fall of “domestic production and consumption”.
But in January-October 2017, Gazprom significantly increased its exports to Western and Central Europe: by 8.6 percent in Germany, by 5.9 percent to France, to Slovakia by 26 percent, to the Czech Republic by 28.7 percent, and to Austria by as much as 42.7 percent. In particular, 4.8 billion cubic meters were supplied to the Czech Republic which is more than for the entire 2016.
The European Commission is clearly betting on expensive and politically unreliable American liquefied gas, as well as on other renewable energy sources, while Brussels has also lost faith in the economic prospects of the EU. The reasoning by the EU makes little sense, since it should be welcoming cheaper energy sources to boost economic growth.
Ukraine’s funding comes from revenues generated by the transit of Russian gas, one of the most important sources of its foreign exchange earnings.
In July, the Nord Stream-2 project suffered another setback when US legislators proposed sanctions on energy companies doing business with Russia.
The sanctions are a major headache for European companies that are co-financing Nord Stream 2 — Engie of France, the Anglo-Dutch oil group Shell, Austria’s OMV and the German energy companies, Uniper and Wintershall.
The huge advantage of Nord Stream-2 is that it will not run a pipeline through Ukraine, one of the main conduits for gas into Europe, and thereby save on transit fees.