Russia and Global Security Risks
Nord Stream 2: Yamal Gas for Europe and US Sanctions
List of speakers

America is most likely going to fail in its attempt to put an end to the Nord Stream 2 project, and its current actions are attempts to somehow get out of this situation while saving face. On March 1, the Valdai Club experts discussed the risks and prospects associated with pipeline projects to deliver gas from Russia to the EU.

The Nord Stream 2 project and America's attempts to stop it are in the focus of attention, stressed the discussion moderator, Ivan Timofeev, Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club. According to him, the European Union, as well as Germany itself, have tried to resist US sanctions, but this was hampered by a lack of real leverage. However, under the Biden administration, the position of Brussels and Berlin was heard and some weakening of American attacks on the project became noticeable.

Thilo Wieland, a Member of the Management Board for Russia, Latin America and Gas Transportation at Wintershall Dea GmbH, stressed that Nord Stream 2 is essential for Europe. It will strengthen the resilience of infrastructure and ensure stable prices, which is important both from the point of view of competitiveness and energy security, especially against the backdrop of declining European gas production. In addition, the European energy sector is currently undergoing a green course change, where  Russian gas is playing an important role in the decarbonisation process, replacing coal.

Alexey Grivach, Deputy General Director for Gas Issues of the National Energy Security Fund, drew an analogy with the sanctions imposed by the Reagan administration against the Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhgorod gas pipeline, pointing out that in both cases, these sanctions looked primarily like a way to impede the economic development of Europe. As in the 1980s, America will be not able to put an end to the project, and its current actions look like attempts to somehow exit this situation while saving face, he added.

Vitaly Yermakov, Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Research, pointed out that during the discussion about Nord Stream 2, only the tip of the iceberg is seen, and the main part of the problem is related to the relocation of most gas production to the Yamal Peninsula and the decline in production at old fields near the central corridor of the Russian gas transportation system, through Ukraine to Europe. Meanwhile, the shortest route for transporting Yamal gas lies to the north, and it is economically unprofitable to redirect it through the central transport corridor. This means that the Nord Stream 2 project is not of a purely political nature, but it is conditioned by new fundamental trends in Russian gas production and transportation.