MOSCOW, December 15. /TASS/. By mid-2021, Gazprom may complete construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and begin the first gas deliveries through the new pipeline by the end of the year, according to experts interviewed by TASS.
Last Friday, the Russian barge "Fortuna" began laying a 2.6 km section of the pipeline in the exclusive economic zone of Germany in waters at a depth of less than 30 meters. It is planned to complete work on this section by the end of the year. Then the construction of the last section of Nord Stream 2 will begin in the territorial waters of Denmark.
"The speed (of construction’s completion - TASS) will depend on the technical capability of the vessels, which is still difficult to assess. Factors of weather conditions and logistic nuances also play a role. In theory, completion of construction by the end of the first quarter looks like a realistic goal," department at Fitch Dmitry Marinchenko said.
It is possible that the construction of the remaining section may take up to six months, Director General of the National Energy Institute Sergey Pravosudov believes. The construction deadlines may be influenced by storms typical for the Baltic Sea in winter, and the lack of experience in implementing large infrastructure projects by Russian ships, analysts said.
"Earlier, very powerful ships were involved in the project, and these were originally designed for small projects. That is, Akademik Cherskiy (the vessel was named as one of the possible completers for Nord Stream 2 - TASS) was purchased to build small gas pipelines from fields on the shelf to the coast, it was not designed for global projects," Pravosudov noted.
According to him, Russian gas supplies via Nord Stream 2 will begin closer to Q4 of 2021, after pipeline tests are completed. Fitch's Marinchenko also noted it is likely that the pipeline will be commissioned next year.
DPA International, citing a high-ranking official in the Donald Trump administration, said on Friday that gas via Nord Stream 2 "will never be transported."
Meanwhile, analysts told TASS that the demand for Russian gas in Europe will persist for several decades. And given the EU's commitment to abandoning coal and nuclear power and plans to switch to hydrogen energy, the demand for Russian gas may grow in the future.
"In the next, relatively speaking, 20-30 years, everything will be fine with gas, and supplies will at least not decrease, most likely even increase. Therefore, the Nord Stream 2 project will be quite cost-effective and will work," Pravosudov added.
At the same time, after the commissioning of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline the Ukrainian gas transmission system will also be used to supply Russian gas to Europe in months of high demand, for example, in winter, experts believe.