Gazprom completed early on Friday construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the Russian gas giant said today, although gas flows on the controversial Russia-led pipeline cannot begin until Germany grants an operating license to the project.
“During a morning briefing at Gazprom, Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Management Committee, announced that the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline was fully completed at 8:45 am (Moscow time) earlier this morning,” Gazprom said in a brief statement on Friday.
Earlier this week, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany was set to be completed within days and come on stream.
But in order to begin shipping gas to Germany, Nord Stream 2 will need the go-ahead from the German regulator via an operational license.
Last month, a German court ruled that Nord Stream 2 will have to obey European Union regulations that separate owners of the pipelines from suppliers of gas, dealing a blow to Gazprom, who sought to have EU rules waived for the controversial pipeline.
Nord Stream 2 AG, the company behind the pipeline, said today that after the mechanical completion of the construction, “the required pre-commissioning activities will be carried out with the goal to put the pipeline into operation before the end of this year.”
Gazprom hopes to start gas flows via the first leg of the pipeline as early as October 1, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing sources with direct knowledge of the Russian gas giant’s plans.
The European Union and the United States have opposed the Nord Stream 2 project, concerned about Russia using gas sales and its gas monopoly Gazprom as a political tool. Poland, several other EU countries, and the United States have seen Nord Stream 2 as further undermining Europe’s energy security by giving Gazprom another pipeline to ship its natural gas to European markets. Germany has looked at the project mostly from a business perspective.