Russia’s second twin gas pipeline into Germany looks set to complete soon, cranking up the competition to supply Europe’s energy market.Russia’s second twin gas pipeline into Germany looks set to be complete soon, cranking up the competition to supply Europe’s energy market.
Russia President Vladimir Putin has announced that the first of the Nord Stream 2 twin pipelines will soon start transporting gas to Europe. Putin added that work continues on the second pipeline, with 62 miles (100 km) of pipes still to be laid, as of June 3rd.
Nord Stream Facts and Figures
Nord Stream 2 starts at Ust-Luga, a port with access to the Gulf of Finland, around 105 miles (170km) west of Saint Petersburg. The pipeline, built by Russia majority state-owned energy corporation Gazprom, runs for 760 miles (1,224km) across the Baltic Sea to Greifswald in northeast Germany.
The two pipelines of Nord Stream 2 can transport a combined total of around 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
Nord Stream 2 joins the first Nord Stream, another twin pipeline transporting 55 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe since completion in 2012. Gazprom can move 110 billion cubic meters of gas per year between Russia and Germany when using all pipelines simultaneously.
Pipeline to Impact United States LNG Exports?
Last month, the Biden administration waived potential sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 project, citing its near completion and the U.S. government’s desire to build good relations with Germany.
However, Nord Stream 2’s effect on the United States’ exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe remains to be seen.
The United States is the largest natural gas producer in the world. The EU is the 2nd biggest consumer of gas, importing some 70% of its supply. Gas accounts for 23% of the EU’s total energy demand, and the EU imports more than half its energy needs.
In 2017, the U.S. exported 2.2 billion cubic meters of LNG to the European Union (EU). By 2019, exports had increased almost eight-fold to a high tide of 17.2 billion cubic meters. The EU received some 36% of all the U.S. LNG exports that year.
Russia supplies 27% of the EU’s oil, 41% of its gas, and 46.7% of its solid fuel imports, such as coal. As a result, Europe is a vital market to big energy suppliers like the United States and Russia.
Nord Stream’s Impact on Climate Change
North Stream 2 comes online just as the world focuses on climate change. Fossil fuels produce different levels of carbon dioxide when they are burned. Natural gas is usually burned to create electricity or heat people’s homes. It is often called the “cleanest” of fossil fuels.
Studies show that natural gas emits around half the carbon dioxide as coal and around three quarters of gasoline in relation to the energy produced when burned.
The Nord Stream pipelines could also transport the more environmentally-friendly hydrogen or green hydrogen gas, looking further ahead.
Victor Vekselberg, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (SkolTech), spoke about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline’s potential at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum in June.
Vekselberg thinks the scientific community’s development of hydrogen energy could create a Russian-German alliance based around the gas. He said: “At SkolTech…we are developing specific technological solutions for the utilization, storage, and development of solutions for hydrogen energy.”
International politics and consumer appetite for cleaner energy while still meeting energy demands will have a big say in Nord Stream 2 and the EU’s energy future.
Opinion writer: Tom Shearman
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