Russia transfers pipeline-laying vessel to Baltic in push to complete NordStream 2

The Academician Chersky pipelaying vessel bound for the Baltic Sea will stop today in Cape Town. The ship was transferred

Academician Chersky

Photo: Nord Stream 2/Axel Schmidt

The Academician Chersky pipelaying vessel bound for the Baltic Sea will stop today in Cape Town.

The ship was transferred from Russia’s Pacific coast to the west to complete the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will provide European consumers direct access to Russian natural gas resources.

In January, the Trump administration sanctioned companies involved in the construction of the pipeline, citing concerns about Russia’s dominance in European energy markets. European investors and technicians subsequently backed out. Despite the flight of investment and expertise, Russian energy conglomerate Gazprom says it is committed to completing the 55 billion cubic-metre pipeline by 2021.

The progress of the Academician Chersky shows that while the US has delayed the pipeline’s completion, it is highly unlikely to stop it. The pipeline is already 93% finished and will increase the bloc’s dependence on Russian gas imports. The project had been pushed heavily by Berlin to shore up the German economy over the objections of Brussels, which wants to diversify Europe’s energy portfolio and prevent over-reliance on Russia. Expect the EU to compensate for this weakness by encouraging a surge in American liquefied natural gas imports.

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