Nord Stream 2 sets record straight
On Tuesday, Sijbren de Jong published a commentary about the pipeline project Nord Stream 2, but regrettably, his conclusions were blurred by flawed assumptions and baseless speculations.
Firstly, it is important to note that any pipeline has two ends.
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It is not just the Russian counterpart who is interested in our project, but there are five major energy companies from four EU countries who have publicly committed to supporting the project because of a need for additional import capacity: BASF/Wintershall, Engie, OMV, Shell, Uniper.
It is a multinational undertaking, bringing jobs and investments to more than a dozen countries.
Western European gas production is in rapid decline while gas will remain an important source of low-carbon energy.
Once the gas has arrived on the internal market via Nord Stream 2, it can be freely shipped across the EU, including Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe.
The high utilisation rate of the existing Nord Stream pipeline confirms our business case. In 2016, on average 80 percent of the capacity was in use; in 2017 the average utilisation so far has been 97 percent.
Secondly, it is beyond question that Nord Stream 2 will comply with all applicable EU laws.
There is a comprehensive regulatory framework consisting of international conventions, EU laws and national legislation of the countries along the route of the pipeline: Denmark, Finland, Germany, and Sweden are known for exceptionally high standards of governance, transparency, and environmental responsibility.
We have full confidence that the authorities of these countries will apply all relevant laws objectively and with the highest degree of diligence.
Green logistics concept
Nord Stream 2 is asking for no preferential treatment; we rely on the ordinary approvals procedures under the rule of law – but we reject any calls for discriminatory treatment of Nord Stream 2 for purely political motivations.
Lastly, it is regrettable that I need to respond to the absurd proposition of Mr de Jong who claims that our preference for a Swedish port as a logistics hub for the construction of Nord Stream 2 would somehow indicate that our project pursues political rather than commercial objectives.
Without any apparent understanding of the realities of pipeline construction, Mr de Jong goes on to conclude that a purely commercial company would have chosen the port of Kaliningrad instead; he claims to know that labour and storage costs there would be “much lower”.
The choice of the logistics hubs for Nord Stream 2 follows the award-winning green logistics concept of the first Nord Stream project.
The larger share of steel pipes is supplied from Western Europe.
Of course, it is both more competitive and sustainable to use onshore facilities that are as close to the pipeline route as possible.
The locations have been chosen with the aim of reducing transport distances between the ports and the offshore construction sites. Kaliningrad port was not chosen due to longer transport distances and other specific logistical criteria.
Our approach eliminates any unnecessary environmental impacts, risks, and emissions from maritime transport.
This goes to show that our highest priorities are safety, compliance and sustainability.
Instead, Mr de Jong’s commentary gives priority to unsubstantiated allegations and political motivations.
We will continue our transparent dialogue with all stakeholders and interest groups to ensure the availability of solid facts for the evaluation of Nord Stream 2 – based on its own merits rather than rumour-mongering.
Sebastian Sass is EU Advisor to Nord Stream 2