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ST. PETERSBURG, June 17. /TASS/. Nord Stream-2 is a purely commercial project, with the Russian authorities having nothing to do with it, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday at a meeting with CEO’s of the world’s leading news agencies organized by TASS on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
"It is a purely commercial project, the government has nothing to do with it," he said, adding that stakeholders had agreed on the construction of its second thread while the construction of the first one was underway.
The Russian president reminded that the initiative to build Nord Stream-2 had come from the international consortium. The project is of interest not only to Russia, but also to France, the Netherlands and Great Britain. The project, according to Putin, stems from declining gas production in Northern Europe and growing demand in gas. He said he doubts that shale gas from the United States could be a competitive source to satisfy this demand due to the technical complexity and expensiveness of its production, processing and transportation to European consumers.
South Stream, in Putin’s words, has never been sees as an alternative to Nord Stream. The former project was meant just to diversify Russian gas supplies to Europe. Russia had to abandon the South Stream construction due to the ban of the Bulgarian authorities but is not dropping this project for good, he added.