German expert Roland Götz believes that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will be put into operation in 2019 but that Russian holding Gazprom and Ukrainian Naftogaz first need to conclude an agreement on gas transit.
This is what the leading expert on Russian-European relations in the field of energy, Roland Götz told in an interview with Deutsche Welle. The expert has stressed that he has no doubts about the project being completed but Nord Stream 2 will not start to operate as quickly as Gazprom wants it to. He has reminded that initially it was planned that the blue fuel would start going through the pipeline in late 2019 — just as the 10-year Russian-Ukrainian gas transit agreement expires.
“But I expect the pipeline not to be able to run at full capacity on January 1, and Gazprom will remain dependent on pumping its gas via the Ukraine pipeline network for the short-term — at least until 2021, probably until 2022 or even 2023,” Götz points out.
There are two reasons for this, the expert explains. The first is a political one. The construction of Nord Stream 2 constantly faces various delays. So, Denmark for political reasons does not issue a permit for the construction of a pipeline near the island of Bornholm. This will slow down construction activities for several more months due to the need to search for an alternative route. And if the USA imposes sanctions they talked about, the project will face funding shortfalls. Especially this will concern European companies that provide technical services and may be forced to reconsider their participation.
The second reason is related to the readiness of the European Gas Pipeline Link (EUGAL) — a pipeline, which is designed to supply gas from the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to the German-Czech border. It is expected to be fully completed only by the end of 2020, not to mention a few more months until the time when the new pipeline is ready for full-capacity operation.