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Nord Stream 2 completion depends on pipe-laying speed, not regulators — German minister

Peter Altmaier noted that and in the future Germany may need even more gas than it does now

BERLIN, May 18. /TASS/. The completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline depends on the speed of pipe-laying, Peter Altmaier, head Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy said on Tuesday.

He made this statement in his video address to the participants of the German-Russian conference Potsdam Meetings.

"I am not an engineer, but a politician. The problems that we have now are not in the lack of agreements," he said.

"Now it is a very short stretch which is yet to be completed, and this [completion of the project - TASS] depends on how quickly the pipe-laying work goes," Altmaier said.

He refused to make any forecast in this regard.

The German politician reiterated the position of official Berlin: Nord Stream 2 is an economic project, but Ukraine should also retain the role of a gas transit country in the future.

Altmaier noted that and in the future Germany may need even more gas than it does now.

"I know that we will need natural gas for years to come. Namely, probably even more than now, because we are abandoning nuclear energy and cannot cost-effectively serve coal power plants," he said.

According to him, even after Germany finally abandons fossil energy sources, it will still need "green" hydrogen. He said that the already existing gas transmission network could be used to supply such hydrogen. The minister added that Russia has "outstanding conditions" for its production.

He recalled that in recent years, there have been disagreements in relations between Russia and the West, caused by the situation in Ukraine, in Syria, as well as issues related to human rights. Because of this, there was uncertainty in the EU countries about the project.

"This mistrust needs to be dispelled," the minister said. Energy relations between Berlin and Moscow "have been reliable for 40 years and have never been affected by political problems," the minister added.

About Nord Stream 2 project

The Nord Stream 2 project implies the construction of two lines of a gas pipeline with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year from the coast of Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany. The work was suspended in December 2019 after the Swiss Allseas Group abandoned pipe-laying due to possible US sanctions. In December 2020, the construction of the gas pipeline resumed after a year's pause. Now, Nord Stream 2 is 95% completed.

On Monday, Germany’s Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) authorized the laying of pipes for the Nord Stream 2 project in German waters, but the works may follow only at the end of May. The permit concerns laying pipes on a 2-kilometer stretch in the German Exclusive Economic Zone by vessels with an anchor positioning system, such as the Fortuna pipe-laying vessel.