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The Nord Stream II Drama - İrem Ayça Aykın

Russian natural gas is one of the major players within the field of energy, and its irreplaceability has been proved. And Russia is aiming to increase its already acknowledged importance by starting to build the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The Nord Stream 2 is expected to follow the same path of Nord Stream in the meantime make capacity double. The pipeline entry point is the Ust-Luga area of Leningrad, passing through the Baltic Sea to Germany. Nonetheless, the reactions to Nord Stream II are mainly adverse. It has backlashed by the US, the EU, and as well as non-EU states. The pipeline was expected to complete by the end of 2019; however, the building process seems to get longer.

Nord Stream is half-owned by Gazprom, which is Russian government-owned, and all of Nord Stream II. The project even accused of being “Anti-European” and “Anti-Ukrainian” due to several reasons. Nord Stream II is expected to increase the dependency of Germany to Russia and economically punish Ukraine. Since energy independence of Europe has always been an issue, the project viewed as a fraction between the interests of Germany and the interests of everyone else. The plan seems to benefit Germany the most since they half fund it.

Although the transit contract between Kremlin and Kyiv holds an essential place for the transition of gas since Ukraine remains as main gas route, the Nord Stream II aims to eliminate Ukraine almost wholly. The contract will expire at the end of 2019, and Nord Stream II was expected to be completed by then. An exclusion means a potential loss of billion euros for Kyiv. The January 2009 Ukraine Crisis can explain Russia’sRussia’s intention to punish Ukraine. It was when no Russian gas flowed to Europe across Ukraine in the middle of winter, hence causing a humanitarian emergency in the Eastern part of Europe. This event proved the unreliability of Ukraine as a transit state and had to be avoided.

But the view of Russia was similar to the opinion of Ukraine. After the annexation of Crimea, Europe took a stance against Russia, pressuring the union to look for alternative gas sources. Still, there is a reason why Russian natural gas has crushing supremacy to the other sources of energy. Foremost, Russian natural gas is much cheaper. Although liquified gas would be purchased from Qatar, Indonesia, the costs of re-gasification are much higher. ın the long term buying liquified gas would not be sustainable. When it is considered the unreliability of other suppliers, such as North Africa, Russia preserves its importance.

Despite the backlash, Nord Stream II has been completed 70 percent, and it was expected to finish before late 2019. However, there is a problem. The uncooperative attitude of Denmark has caused eight months of delay. The planned route was to lay the pipes through the territorial waters of Denmark, which they vetoed due to security reasons. Gazprom has already introduced two alternative ways for the pipeline, but due to environmental assessment, the Danish Energy Agency requested the third one. The agency confirmed that Gazprom applied for another route passing from a Baltic Sea island, namely Bornholm, which is in Denmark’sDenmark’s exclusive economic zone. Still, there is a possibility of Denmark refusing the alternative route, yet Gazprom stated, in case of noncooperation, they would find neutral zones to build Nord Stream II into. For now, the renewed date for the launch is 2020.


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