Russia’s new gas pipeline to Europe, known as Nord Stream 2, will be fully ready next week, says an Austrian contractor, despite repeated objections raised by the United States about the key project and its impacts on the energy security in Europe.
Rainer Seele, the head of the Austrian oil giant OMV, said on Monday that gas could start flowing through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline before the end of this year.
Seele told Russia’s Vedomosti newspaper that construction works on the massive project would end “next week”, adding that the speedy completion of the pipeline had cut costs in the project by more than 200 million euros to 729 million euros ($865 million).
Nord Stream 2 has been repeatedly attacked by the United States and some allies as a project that could increase Europe’s dependence on Russia for its energy needs.
However, European partners of the project, especially Germany, have dismissed US objections, saying the new pipeline would ensure they will have no concerns in future about their growing energy needs.
Advocates of the project also insist that the new pipeline will ensure that gas supplies from Russia to Europe will not be affected by political problems in Ukraine, a country that hosts an existing pipeline for transferring Russian gas to European customers.
Russian government authorities had indicated last week that the Nord Stream 2 project was nearing its completion.
Russian gas giant Gazprom, which has executed the project in collaboration with five European companies, estimates that the 1,230-kilometer pipeline will be able to supply up to 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas to European customers per year.