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Post at: Aug 13 2021

Nord Stream 2 Pipeline

Why in News?

  • On July 21, 2021, US approved the Germany-Russia Nord Stream 2 Pipeline (NS2P) project- which significantly increases Europe’s energy dependence on Russia.

 

About NS2P

  • Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a 12,000 km pipeline proposed from Ust-Luga in Russia to Greifswald in Germany through the Baltic Sea.
  • It will carry 55 billion cubic metres of gas per years.
  • It was decided by the Russian energy major Gazprom and five other European firms in 2015 at around $ 11 billion.

Background

  • USA believes that the Nord Stream 2 project would increase Europe’s dependence on Russia for natural gas, thus emboldening its leader Vladimir Putin.
  • The West on one hand wants access to Russia’s hydrocarbons and on the other distrusts President Vladimir Putin, who it holds responsible for a series of affronts, such as the Crimean conflict of 2014 and the alleged interference in the US elections of 2016 and 2020.
  • EU countries already rely on Russia for 40 per cent of their gas needs.
  • There is one already completed Nord Stream 1 system, supplying 55 billion cubic metres of gas to Germany per year.
  • Ukraine feels that once Nord Stream 2 is completed, Russia could bypass the Ukrainian pipeline and deprive it of lucrative transit fees of around $ 3 billion per year. It also fears another invasion by Russia once the new pipeline is operational.
  • In December 2019, work on the project was suspended due to threat to US sanctions, and in January 2021, USA actually carried out its sanctions on a Russian ship tasked with laying pipes for the NS2P project.
  • The pipeline project previously casted a shadow on US-Germany relations.

US-Germany Agreement and Change in US’s stand

  • The US-Germany deals lays out that if Russia attempts to “use energy as a weapon or commit further aggressive acts against Ukraine”, Germany will take steps on its own and push for actions at the EU, including sanction, “to limit Russian export capabilities to Europe in the energy sector”.
  • The agreement also requires Germany to “utilise all available leverage” to extend by 10 years the current Russia-Ukraine gas transit agreement, which expires in 2024, and a contribution of at least $ 175 million to a new $ 1 billion “Green fund for Ukraine” that aims at improving the country’s energy independence.

Criticism

  • USA has reservations with agreements empowering Russia. USA thinks that Russia will spread its malign influence throughout Eastern Europe and increase the Russian aggression on Ukraine.
  • Even the countries within the European Union (EU) have opposed the project due to security implications in the Battle Sea.

Way Forward

The NS2P project between Russia and Germany is almost 98 per cent complete. Russia must ensure and also assure the world that the proposed energy projects respect the Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

USA and Germany those political and financial expediency over the interests of their allies in the region. The US-Germany deal removed a thorn from their mutual ties and the threat sanction from European firms involved in the project. The question of energy security is definitely crucial for nations across the world and that is why it drives the enemies into a pact. However, it is necessary to see that the nations in a deal do not betray the territorial security of weaker nations.

@  Abhay Pandey


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