Russian-led gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2 may save the European Union about eight billion dollars annually thanks to a 13 percent drop in costs, according to the enterprise’s operator.
“If the pipeline is completed by the end of 2019 and is launched in 2020, European families will get access to natural gas at a lower cost price, and will save eight billion euro annually,” the Nord Stream 2 AG’s press office said, as quoted by Izvestia daily. “This could happen due to the 13 percent decrease in prices.”
The operator stressed that no one would benefit from foot-dragging over the launch, as access to cheap natural gas would reduce prices for the fuel across the European market. Each day of delay will reportedly cost European citizens and industrial enterprises €20 million.
Nord Stream 2 is a 1,230km-long (765 miles) twin pipeline system designed to deliver Russian gas to Germany and further to other European consumers under the Baltic Sea. The project is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2019.
The pipeline, a joint venture of Russia’s Gazprom and five European energy majors, is currently two thirds complete. It is expected to double the existing pipeline’s capacity of 55 billion cubic meters annually, and is supposed to come into operation as soon next year.
The pipeline has been fiercely criticized by Washington which accused Germany and the entire bloc of being captive to Russian gas sales. In an attempt to push the US liquefied natural gas to the European market, the White House threatened to sanction the corporations for participating in the Nord Stream 2 project.
The project has been also slammed by Eastern European member-states, the Baltic countries along with Ukraine. The latter expressed concerns that the future pipeline would bypass Ukraine and deprive its budget of transit fees.
So far, Berlin has been shrugging off the criticism, highlighting that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would only contribute to the diversity of the gas supply to Europe. However, Brussels has adopted the so-called Gas Directive, which was backed by all the EU members. The legislation is seen as an attempt to bring the controversial Russia-controlled project under the EU’s regulatory umbrella.
Last week, Nord Stream 2 chief executive Matthias Warnig threatened to sue the bloc if the operator is not allowed to avoid new regulations, which endanger billions of euros in investments.
“The measure would be discriminatory against Nord Stream 2 AG as an investor and Nord Stream 2 as its investment,” the top executive wrote in a letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.