NATO v. Nord Stream 2

After a five month delay, Russia is ready to complete the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, built to increase the flow of Russian gas into Europe’s biggest economy, was thwarted five months ago after U.S. President Donald Trump imposed sanctions that forced workers to retreat. Now, after a three-month voyage circumnavigating the globe, the Akademik Cherskiy, the Russian pipe-laying vessel that’s a prime candidate to finish the project, has anchored off the German port where the remaining pipeline sections are waiting to be installed...
Satellite images captured by Planet Labs inc. on May 10 show that sections of pipeline have been moved to a jetty equipped with a crane for loading. Ship-tracking data shows that a dredging vessel operated by a Nord Stream 2 contractor, as well as a Russian pipe-laying-crane ship are also in the vicinity and that the Akademik Cherskiy had moved as of Wednesday next to the jetty loaded with pipes.


In order to complete the final 100-mile stretch of Nord Stream 2, Russia effectively needs to use its own vessels due to U.S. sanctions.
The U.S. still thinks that it can stop Gazprom from finishing the pipeline, but that's insane.

Tens of billions of dollars, along with Putin’s reputation as a savvy geopolitical chess master, have been invested in the pipeline project. However, Moscow is now running out of viable options. The only move left is to proceed in defiance of sanctions that will adversely affect many in the higher echelons of the Russian establishment.

This is checkmate.

Yes, this is checkmate...for Putin.
After investing billions of dollars, Gazprom would go bust if they don't finish this pipeline. So do you really think that more U.S. sanctions will give them even a moment's pause?
Sanctions are pointless now.

The question here is, why was this pipeline such a big deal?
To give you an idea, consider the recently completed Turkstream pipeline.
The Turkstream pipeline network isn't even fully integrated yet, and it's already having an impact. Who it's impacting is the key.

Although Ukraine has not been importing any Russian gas for its domestic needs since November 2015, it has signed a five-year transit contract with Gazprom for a minimum 65bcm in 2020 and 40bcm/year from 2021.

However, transit volumes have fallen 47% year on year in the first four months of 2020, amounting to 15.5bcm. The steep drop has been linked to European oversupply and low demand, but also to the lack of transit to the Balkan region after Russian exports to Turkey, Bulgaria and Greece were diverted to the new TurkStream pipeline from January 2020.

“Our transmission system can transit 110bcm of gas [annually] but this year we expect only 50-55bcm of transit,” Makogon added, pointing out that volumes would drop even lower if Russia commissions Nord Stream 2, a 55bcm/year subsea pipeline designed to link Russia directly to Germany via the Baltic Sea.

Ukraine stands to lose $3 Billion a year in transit fees from Russia once Nord Stream 2 is completed this year. This will devastate Ukraine's budget and economy.
Before you feel any sympathy for Ukraine, consider the situation that Ukraine put Russia in.

Ukraine’s NATO membership ambitions were written into the Ukrainian Constitution in February 2019 via an amendment that also confirmed the goal of eventually joining the European Union.

NATO integration has remained official Ukrainian policy following the April 2019 election of President Zelenskyy. In early 2020, the country was said to be on track to secure NATO Enhanced Opportunity Partner status later in the year if the pace of reforms was maintained.

NATO's mission continues to be "destroy Russia". So you can see why Russia would feel the need to, at the very least, not help fund an enemy nation.
Plus the potential consequences of Ukraine entering NATO are terrible.

There are ongoing concerns that membership would allow Ukraine to immediately invoke Article 5 of the NATO treaty, the stipulation that an armed attack against one member state is an attack against them all.

Fortunately, the new Ukraine government of President Zelensky doesn't appear nearly so eager for a military confrontation with Russia. Plus public support for joining NATO is dropping.

If I was to make a prediction, I would say that NATO was about to experience a political setback.

20 users have voted.


some things don't change

A police department in Ukraine has been embroiled in an anti-Semitism scandal after requesting the names and personal details of local Jewish community members. Ukraine's National Police said this week that an internal investigation had been launched following the revelation that a high-ranking police official sought the names, addresses and contact details for members of the Orthodox Jewish community and Jewish students in the western town of Kolomyya.
"Interesting that in 1941 the Nazi and Ukrainian Auxiliary Police demanded [the community] to provide the lists of all Jews," Dolinsky wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday.

According to some estimates, as many as 1.5 million Jews were killed on Ukrainian soil by Nazi forces during World War II.

16 users have voted.
Roy Blakeley's picture

@gjohnsit While many Ukrainians fought bravely and well against the Nazis, others greeted them as liberators and collaborated with them in killing Jews, Gypsies and Poles. The Svoboda party is Nazi(founded as the Social Nationalist party). They and other fascist parties have considerable influence in Ukraine.

12 users have voted.

@gjohnsit pro-corporate anti-Semites are acceptable. Like how the ADL dismissed the anti-Semites in the'open-up' gun-toting 'protesters.' Now if you are a leftist, saying anything critical of Israel is anti-Semitism.

11 users have voted.
CB's picture

is also at the same dock as the AKADEMIK CHERSKIY. The FORTUNA does not have dynamic positioning capabilities so it could be used to lay pipe in the coastal waters off Germany leaving the AKADEMIK CHERSKIY to finish the deep-water lay in Danish waters. There is just 160km left to finish the 1,225km Nord Stream 2.

Gazprom is not in this by itself. The original EU permitting prevented Gazprom from going it alone. In any event, Gazprom has deep pockets and the heating season eventually comes around. Germany also needs this gas if they are to continue decommissioning their 84 coal fired generating plants on schedule.

Nord Stream 2 Shareholder & Financial Investors

Nord Stream 2 AG is a project company established for planning, construction and subsequent operation of the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline. The company is based in Zug, Switzerland and owned by Public Joint Stock Company (PJSC) Gazprom. PJSC Gazprom is the largest supplier of natural gas in the world, accounting for approximately 15 percent of world gas production.

Nord Stream 2 AG signed financing agreements for the project with ENGIE, OMV, Shell, Uniper and Wintershall Dea.

Nord Stream 2’s shareholder and financial investors have a great deal of experience in the business of extracting natural gas, building transport networks and bringing gas reliably and safely to the markets where it is required.

12 users have voted.
mimi's picture

while doing what most people do in their bedrooms, and so I will always be grateful, whoever helps me to stay warm and do the FUBAR argumentation behind closed doors.

So, former Chancellor Schröder was acccused to be a good 'ol Russian lobbyist', bad boy that he was back then. Now he argues again to stop sanctions against Russia, eh, why doesn't Gerhard learn? Ack, those boys will be boys, one just can't help that.

Of course it had to be Ukraine who calls for sanctions against Gerhard Schröder, to keep up 'right' Ukraine's appearances, no?

Former German chancellor Schroeder is Kremlin’s ‘most important lobbyist,’ says Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin here

By Maxime Schlee

3/19/18, 11:03 AM CET

Updated 3/19/18, 8:35 PM CET

Schröder also advocated that Europe continue to trust Moscow following Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, and warned the EU and the United States against implementing further sanctions.

A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected the idea of imposing sanctions against the former chancellor. (ie Schröder) ...


Still, Schröder’s work has sparked criticism even within his own center-left SPD party.

“I wouldn’t be unhappy to see certain people leave the SPD,” SPD Bundestag member Ulrike Nissen wrote on Twitter, using the hashtag #Schröder.

MEP Elmar Brok, a foreign policy expert and member of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), told BILD it was "a scandal that a former chancellor now represents the interests of Putin."

yeah, well, I wouldn't be unhappy too, if certain people just close their mouth and have their 'fucks' in an icy cold bedroom, being true to their political convictions while freezing their butt. But who would have thought that Germany has the same sort of center-lefty dummies as the US has? Did you just realize that Merkel is a fascist in the name of 'more democracy'? (oh, yeah, I thought so too - not. WTF)

So, you wanna bribe a German chick? Just make sure she has a warm bed to cuddle in with her Russian lobbyist friend. (Occasionally the Russian lobbyist turn out American spies, but who cares.)

That was a pretty good essay, just have to read the links three times and btw, I am a willing guinea pig for all those, who make their living, being one guinea pig to the next fellow guinea pig. "Eine Hand wäscht die andere" says one guinea pig to the next one.

Seufz. (thorough essay, kudos) (translations of the German misfitting expressions upon request only)

4 users have voted.