MOSCOW, March 2 – RIA Novosti. Ihor Yushkov, an expert at the Financial University and a leading analyst at the National Energy Security Fund, commented on the statement by the head of the Naftogaz board, Andriy Kobolev, about Ukraine's “readiness” to launch the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
He noted that such statements are intended for domestic consumption in order to reassure the Ukrainians themselves. At the same time, according to Yushkov, Kiev faces two important problems with regard to Nord Stream 2. The first difficulty lies in the loss of income, which nevertheless will not occur directly with the launch of the project. This is due to the fact that at the end of 2019, a five-year contract was signed for the transit of gas through Ukraine.
“Therefore, the launch of Nord Stream 2 for another four years will not lead to a decrease in revenues,” Yushkov explained.
The second problem, according to the expert, is related to the “virtual reverse”. He explained that Ukraine receives gas from Russia, but at the same time, according to the documents, an offset is made, as if the country buys gas from European traders, and those from Gazprom. With a stop in transit, such a scheme will be impossible, and physically pumping gas from Europe to Ukraine is more costly.
Gas pipeline construction
Nord Stream 2 envisages the construction of two lines of a gas pipeline with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year from the Russian coast through the Baltic Sea to Germany. Most of the pipes have already been laid, about 148 kilometers of the total length of 2,460 kilometers remained unfinished: 120 of them are in the waters of Denmark and 28 are in Germany.
The project is actively opposed by the United States, which is counting on promoting its liquefied natural gas in Europe, Ukraine, which is afraid of losing revenues from the transit of Russian gas, as well as Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.
In December 2019, Washington included sanctions against Nord Stream 2 in the defense budget, which caused construction to be interrupted for a year. It resumed in December 2020: the ship “Fortuna” laid 2.6 kilometers of pipes in the waters of Germany. However, on January 1, the US Senate voted in favor of the FY2021 defense budget, which provides for the expansion of sanctions against the project. The measures apply to organizations that have provided services for testing, inspection or certification. As a result, the Norwegian company DNV GL and the Danish consulting firm Rambøll announced their withdrawal from the project. The pipe-laying vessel Fortuna and the company KBT-Rus, which owns it, also fell under Washington's restrictions.