Russian energy giant Gazprom said on Friday it had finished construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas subsea pipeline to Germany, completing Moscow’s project to increase its gas exporting capability and bypass Ukraine.
The much-politicized pipeline will double Russia’s gas exporting capacity to Europe via the Baltic Sea and will allow Moscow to circumvent its political foe Ukraine as a major route for its lucrative gas exports to Europe.
“The head of the management board, Alexei Miller, told the morning meeting at Gazprom that the construction of Nord Stream 2 was fully completed today in the morning at 0845 Moscow time,” Gazprom said.
Gazprom started the construction of the 1,200-km long pipeline from Russia to Germany five years ago. The progress of the $11 billion project was halted in the end of 2019 when the then U.S. President Donald Trump imposed sanctions against it.
The construction restarted around a year later with the engagement of Russia’s own vessels.
The route, jointly with the existing Nord Stream pipeline, will double the annual export capacity to 110 billion cubic metres, around the half of Russia’s total gas exports to Europe a year.
The project has drawn criticism from the United States and Ukraine among others. Russia said on Thursday pumping commercial gas supplies via Nord Stream 2 would not start until a German regulator gives the green light.
Gazprom’s Western partners in the project are Germany’s Uniper, BASF’s Wintershall Dea, Anglo-Dutch oil major Shell, Austria’s OMV and French energy company Engie.