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Nord Stream II Dispute: More Russian Gas to Europe? - Feyza Ünal

Nord Stream II is a pipeline project that is planned to supply gas from Russia to Europe. Recently, Gazprom, which is Russia’s state-owned company on the gas market, declared that the Nord Stream 2 (NS2) project has almost been completed. The pipeline will run across the Baltic Sea and reach to Germany in order to increase the gas supply of Europe. However, the NS2 has not been welcomed by other states like the US and Ukraine.

Ukraine is the most important gateway for Europe’s gas exports. In 2017, nearly 40 percent of Europe’s total gas supply was transited by Ukraine from Russia. Russia wants to decrease the role of Ukraine in the market and transit its gas to Europe by NS2 pipeline. According to Forbes (2019), Ukraine is strategically and economically dependent on Russia’s gas transit actions because Ukraine buys gas and coal from Russia despite the conflict between two states. On the other hand, Russia is dependent on Ukraine to deliver its gas to Europe, which makes Ukraine geopolitically important.

Nevertheless, when the Nord Stream II pipeline is completed, the situation will change for Ukraine. Since its importance on the area would be diminished, and its economy would be affected, unsurprisingly, Ukraine has become opponent to NS2.

The President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelenskiy claimed that NS2 pipeline is a threat for Europe because it will increase Russia’s influence on the region. Likewise, the US and some EU states like Poland, are asserting that increasing Russia’s presence on the energy supply of Europe may cause problems for Europe’s Energy Security. Donald Trump even blamed Germany as being ‘captive’ of Russia, because of NS2 increasing its energy dependence on Russia.

United States implemented sanctions on the companies working on Nord Stream II (and Turk Stream project, which will bring gas from Russia to Turkey and eventually Europe.) The bills remove the US assets to these companies.

According to Foreign Policy (2019), Washington aims to limit Russia to be able to sell US liquefied natural gas to Europe. Because Russia sells gas cheaper, the US wants to keep Russia outside of the market. However, the sanctions do not bring the US to reach its aims. Even though sanctions can cause harm to the project, it can only delay the construction plans, nor kill the project. (Forbes, 2019)

Although Ukraine and US want to isolate Russia from the gas market and Europe to preserve their interests, Russia is still and will continuously be an important gas supplier for the European continent.


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