It’s a multibillion-euro natural gas project, publicly backed by Russian president Vladimir Putin and Germany’s second-most powerful leader, deputy chancellor Sigmar Gabriel.
Nord Stream-2 is a pipeline project involving Russian majority state-owned gas monolith Gazprom and some of Europe’s biggest energy behemoths, including BASF, Shell and E.ON. It would double the supply capacity of an existing pipeline, Nord Stream, which runs from Vyborg in Russia to Greifswald in Germany.
But the project is now at the center of a Brussels row concerning Ukraine, with several Eastern European countries warning that the project could rob Kyiv of around $2 billion in annual revenue from gas transit fees starting in 2019, when Ukraine’s contract with Gazprom expires. They fear Russian gas could then be piped directly elsewhere in the European Union from Germany, bypassing Ukraine.
Eastern European representatives worry this potential loss of revenue could further undermine the Ukrainian government, creating more chaos on the union’s borders.
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(In recent years, Russia’s state-owned Gazprom has pursued a number of pipeline projects meant to bypass Ukraine as a transit route towards European customers, including the now-defunct South Stream pipeline, which was to cross Bulgaria. Photo: gazprom.ru)