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Current Affairs

Trouble in Nord stream pipeline

Date: 31 December 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

The dependence on Nord Stream 2 pipeline has paralyzed west’s response against Russian aggression in Ukraine.

 

Background

The Nord Stream 2 is an ambitious pipeline that provides natural gas supply from Russia to rest of Western Europe.

 

Details

  • The pipeline passes under the Baltic Sea from the Russian city of Ust-Luga to the German city of Lubmi.

  • The pipeline has been designed in such a way that it bypasses Ukraine and the rest of Eastern Europe.

 

Controversy

  • Ukraine has termed the pipeline a geopolitical weapon of Russia to control politics of Europe in future.

  • Most of the European countries are opposing the project as it could provide more leverage and bargaining power to Russia while dealing with Europe and its energy market.

  • However, countries like Austria, Germany, Netherlands and Hungary are in favour of the project as it will give them access to cheap natural gas from Russia.

 

The project

  • The pipeline stretches for 1,225 Km, providing a shorter and economically viable route to western Europe from Russia.

  • The project has undergone a series of controversies including a US law that imposed sanctions on any EU company that was involved in the project.

 

Political use

  • Some experts point that the project is being used as a political weapon by Russia to pressurize European countries and undermine democratic resilience of Europe.

  • The US also fears that Russia will get more influence on European energy market and the market share of American LNG will significantly reduce.

 

Impact on US-European ties

  • Germany criticized move by US to impose extra-territorial sanctions on the project. This deteriorated the ties between US and Germany.

  • A national security waiver was given to the project by the Biden administration in an effort to restore ties between US and Germany.

 

Germany’s energy dependency

  • Germany imports 40% of its natural gas from Russia, 34% from Norway, 29% from Netherlands and only 10% is available from its territory.

  • The prices of natural gases have double over the past one year, threatening energy security during the harsh winters in the country.