Germany is unlikely to change its stance and block the Russian-backed Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project despite pressure from its allies, writes Wojciech Jakóbik, an energy expert and editor BiznesAlert.pl.
Jakóbik stated that there is just over 100 kilometers of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to be completed, so the construction could finish in just a few weeks.
But the Russians still need to adapt the only available vessel to meet the demands placed on the construction by the Danish authorities, which could take a few months.
Another obstacle to speedy completion of the project are the American sanctions, which may block the Russians even if the Russian vessel can complete the construction. These sanctions may also target the companies involved in certifying the infrastructure of the project, and without that certification, Russian gas may not be transferred through the pipeline.
But despite the obstacles and the realization that Russian intentions are hostile, which have been reinforced by the poisoning of the Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, Jakóbik is skeptical whether Germany will change course on the project.
That is because Nord Stream 2 fits neatly into long-term German energy policies.
According to its “Energiewende” policy, gas from Russia is to be used as cheap fuel in the transitional phase of the transformation of the German energy sector.
Berlin sees the NS2 project in narrow economic terms, and it seems to be ready to risk relations with allies and EU common energy policy in favor of diversification of gas supplies as well as the transatlantic policy of containing Russia.
The expert argues that the Germans want to have direct access to Russian gas in order to get the lowest possible prices, which will make Germany competitive on the European energy market.
They also want to take advantage of becoming a transit country and be able to resell the gas they receive. This will hit Ukraine, a country which Germany purports to be supporting, because it will deprive it of its leverage over the transfer of Russian gas through its territory.
Jakóbik believes Poland has done all that it possibly could have to stop Nord Stream 2 by working with the US and withing the EU.
However, he acknowledges that the final decision on the project will ultimately be made by Berlin.