Rus­sia vows to com­plete Nord Stream 2 pipe­line in 2020

Muscat Daily - - BUSINESS -

Moscow, Rus­sia - Rus­sian En­ergy Min­is­ter Alexan­der No­vak said on Fri­day that a con­tro­ver­sial gas pipe­line would be com­pleted by the end of next year, adding Moscow could use its own pipe-lay­ing ves­sel to skirt US sanc­tions.

Nord Stream 2, which aims to dou­ble Rus­sia’s nat­u­ral gas de­liv­er­ies to Ger­many, was slated for com­ple­tion in early 2020 with a view to be­ing op­er­a­tional in mid2020.

The US has long op­posed the US$10.6bn pro­ject and the US Se­nate voted re­cently to slap sanc­tions on firms work­ing on it.

The Amer­i­can an­nounce­ment of as­set freezes and visa bans tar­get­ing com­pa­nies in­volved in the pro­ject im­me­di­ately led to Swiss pipe-lay­ing con­trac­tor Allseas halt­ing its work on the re­main­ing stretches.

“Nord Stream 2 will be launched by the end of 2020,” No­vak told re­porters on Fri­day.

He said Rus­sia could use its own ves­sel - The Aca­demi­cian Cher­sky - to fin­ish lay­ing the pipe­line, adding it was cur­rently sta­tioned in the Far East.

“Some time is needed for ad­di­tional prepa­ra­tions,” No­vak added.

An En­ergy Min­istry source said the ves­sel would have to be out­fit­ted with nec­es­sary equip­ment.

Ear­lier last week Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov con­firmed that Rus­sia has ‘cer­tain ca­pac­ity’ to fin­ish the pro­ject ‘in the fore­see­able fu­ture’ but de­clined to pro­vide de­tails.

The pipe-lay­ing ves­sel has been op­er­ated by Gazprom Fleet, a sub­sidiary of gas gi­ant Gazprom since 2016.

Washington in­sists the pipe­line would give Rus­sia too much in­flu­ence over se­cu­rity and eco­nomic is­sues in west­ern Europe.

(AFP)

In this file photo taken on March 26, works are under way at the con­struc­tion site of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipe­line in Lub­min, north­east­ern Ger­many

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