Nord Stream 2: what is Russian gas pipeline, map and why Germany has pulled plug amid Russia-Ukraine crisis

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Germany are pulling out the Nord Stream 2 project after Russia sent troops into Ukrainian regions on “peacekeeping operations”

Russia’s move to send troops into separatists regions of Ukraine has been met with criticism and sanctions.

While countries such as the UK and the US have imposed sanctions on banking and taking actions against wealthy individuals, Germany has decided to pull the plug of the Nord Stream 2 project.

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The pipeline was expected to be opened after being completed last September.

But what exactly is Nord Stream 2, and what will happen now that Germany has backed out?

What is Nord Stream 2?

Nord Stream 2 is a 1,200km long gas pipeline which runs under the Baltic Sea.

The purpose of the pipeline, which cost £10bn to construct, is to deliver gas from the Russian coast near St Petersburg to Lubmin, Germany.

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It is owned by the Russian state-backed energy group Gazprom.

Nord Stream 2 was announced in 2015 to double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream pipe, which open in

Completed in September 2021, the project was of particular importance to Germany, as well as the wider EU group.

It is believed that Nord Stream 2 and Nord Stream - which the newer project runs parallel to underground - could deliver 110bn cubic metres of gas, or over a quarter of all gas the EU collectively uses per year.

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Map of Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2. (Credit: Mark Hall/JPIMedia)Map of Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2. (Credit: Mark Hall/JPIMedia)
Map of Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2. (Credit: Mark Hall/JPIMedia) | JPIMedia

Why is Nord Stream 2 important to Germany?

While Nord Stream 2 was to help supply gas to the whole of the EU, it has a particular importance to Germany.

After the country ditched nuclear power, Germany placed all of its efforts into natural gas replacements, including helping to fund the Nord Stream project.

Why did Germany back out of the Nord Stream 2 project?

After rapidly rising tensions on the border of Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz remained under pressure to take action on the project which financially benefits Russia.

Russian troops had been stationed at the border since November 2021, with President Vladimir Putin insisting that the country was not planning to invade Ukraine.

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He said that they move was protection for Russia, who was contesting Ukraine’s aspiring membership of NATO.

However, on 21 February 2022, President Putin officially recognised the independence of the separatists regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Shortly after he ordered troops into these areas on “peacekeeping operations”.

Both of these moves were met with widespread criticism.

While Mr Scholz had tentatively spoken about pulling the plug on the project prior to the incursion, Germany was pushed one step too far and decided to suspend the certification process for Nord Stream 2.

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Mr Scholz said: “This may sound technical, but it is the necessary administrative step without which the pipeline cannot be certified.

“Without this certification Nord Stream 2 cannot go into operation”.

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