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Why the World Worries About Russia’s Nord Stream Pipeline

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Why the World Worries About Russia’s Nord Stream Pipeline

May 20, 2021 at 3:26 p.m. GMT+1

A natural gas pipeline being built under the Baltic Sea from Russia to the German coast is shaking up geopolitics. Nord Stream 2, as it’s called, fuels worries in the U.S. and other countries that the Kremlin’s leverage over Europe and its energy market may increase once the pipeline is operational. The U.S. administration has admitted that stopping the gas link, which the project operator says is 95% complete, would be a long shot yet remains committed to opposing it.

1. What is Nord Stream 2?

It’s a 1,230-kilometer (764-mile) twin pipeline that will double the capacity of the existing undersea route from Russian gas fields to Europe — the original Nord Stream — which opened in 2011. Gazprom PJSC owns the project operator, with Royal Dutch Shell Plc and four other investors contributing half of the 9.5 billion-euro ($11.6 billion) cost. Initially expected to come online by the end of 2019, the link has been delayed by U.S. sanctions that forced Swiss contractor Allseas Group SA to withdraw its pipelaying vessels when all but 160 kilometers of the link was in place.

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