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$11B gas pipeline now Abandoned, its fate unknown—CNBC

Russia's war in Ukraine put an end to the Nord Stream 2 project

Russia's war in Ukraine put an end to the Nord Stream 2 project

One of the first victims of the Russian invasion of Ukraine was the Nord Stream 2 (NS 2) gas pipeline, a large-scale energy project that took several years to build and cost $11 billion, the American publication CNBC reports.

Even before Russia’s onslaught, the signs were not good for the 1,234-kilometer offshore pipeline — designed to double the flow of gas between Russia and Germany. Now, the major infrastructure project is looking like it has been "killed off," as one analyst put it.

"The final nail in Nord Stream 2′s coffin came in February following Russia’s decision to formally recognize two pro-Russian, breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine. That prompted the German government under Chancellor Olaf Scholz to stop the certification process altogether," CNBC reports.

The war that has ensued has thrown Europe into a geopolitical crisis not seen in years and has put joint projects and business partnerships between Russia and Europe on a cliff-edge.

"Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has killed off the NS 2 project. It would be unthinkable for Germany or any other European country to do a U-turn and authorize the pipeline after Russia’s behavior," Kristine Berzina, senior fellow and head of the geopolitics team at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, believes.

Even functioning pipelines have a shaky future in Europe, Berzina noted and added that it is unlikely that the SP-2 pipe can be used for any other purposes.

Russia’s invasion has accelerated the EU’s shift away from Russian energy: the bloc states it will slash Russian gas imports by two-thirds by the end of 2022, and that it plans to end its reliance on Russian fossil fuel imports by 2030.

"We don’t believe Nord Stream 2 will ever be commissioned," Kateryna Filippenko, principal analyst for European gas research at Wood Mackenzie, said. "It’s hard to see a rapprochement between Europe and Russia that could facilitate a green light to Nord Stream 2, even years from now."

"Even in case of a ceasefire or some form of settled conclusion, it seems unlikely that a peace would be seen as so stable that no Russian threat existed anymore, especially while President Vladimir Putin is in power," Henning Gloystein, director of energy, climate and resources at Eurasia Group, said.

He added that the only conceivable scenario for project revival can be implemented under a totally reformed Russian government. "Even then, I suspect Germany would be reluctant to just revive NS 2 in its past form. Germany would probably seek to transform it into a hydrogen pipeline. But that all seems a bit farfetched at this stage," Gloystein noted.

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