Russia’s state-owned Gazprom says it will complete the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project under the Baltic Sea on its own without the help of foreign companies.
"The Nord Stream 2 project, which is already 94 percent complete, will be finished by the Russian side," Gazprom deputy head Yelena Burmistrova reportedly told the European Gas Conference in Vienna on January 28.
Last month, the United States imposed sanctions in the form of a cease-and-desist order for the foreign firms working on the Russia-to-Germany natural-gas pipeline project.
That pushed back the timetable of its completion, with Russian officials having given various estimates of when it would go online -- from the end of 2020 to early 2021.
It remains unclear how Gazprom would finish the project without international assistance. Options on the table, according to the Financial Times, include using vessels owned by Gazprom and other Russian pipe-laying contractors.
The foreign companies building the pipeline -- all not part of Gazprom's project consortium -- were Finnish, Swedish, and Danish.
The two most crucial companies facing sanctions were Swiss pipelayer and undersea construction firm Allseas, as well as Italian pipeline contractor Saipem.
Upon completion and in addition to Gazprom’s sister Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Russia technically won’t be reliant on Ukraine’s pipeline network for transiting gas to Europe.
Both sides, however, in late December signed a five-year, $7 billion gas transmission agreement.
Under the new contract, Kyiv this year is expecting to ship a minimum of 65 billion cubic meters (bcm), or about 22 bcm less than it did in 2018. Minimum volumes will decrease further to 40 bcm in 2021-24.