Amazing news from the world of European energy, of course, came in the first weekend of May in our northern region of sad spring copses: according to German media (the start was made by a respectable Handelsblatt), the German Federal Network Agency (BNA) is going to reject Nord Stream 2 AG's application for release pipeline "Nord Stream - 2" from the requirements of the updated gas directive of the European Union. The reason for the refusal will be the fact (to be very scrupulously accurate, rather, a “reason”) that the pipeline was not completed by May 2020.
No, of course, this does not mean that Nord Stream 2 will not be completed. Simply, as the Germans write all the same, Gazprom in this case may face a real risk of spreading the Third Energy Package norms to Nord Stream-2, which in the future could prevent the company from fully utilizing the gas pipeline’s capacities. And what’s the most curious thing here: no one can really understand what is actually happening and in general - why was this all about? Yes, and so "timely" during the raging "coronacrisis." When no one can even say how the world’s energy sector will look like “the way out” of the current global crisis. Not to mention the fact that no one really understands what even the EU itself will look like, and some even doubt whether it will be in its previous form at all.
As for the actual expected BNA decision - judge for yourself.
Let's start with the simplest: in general, it has long been clear to everyone that Nord Stream 2 is not a Russian one, it is a purely European project. Even on investments: Gazprom has a far from decisive part there, the European energy giants gave the bulk of the construction money. And no Gazprom put a gun on their temple for these concerns: they simply needed this gas pipeline than the Russian gas giant. And the ratio of investment in the project merely reflects the real extent of this very “need”: whoever needs it pays the money. Ordinary math and nothing personal.
That is why, according to their actual affiliation, the Nord Stream 2 European project is so supported by the national European governments of Germany and Austria.
Yes, and in the parliaments of both countries torn by contradictions about Nord Stream 2, it is absolutely touching consensus and unanimity. And even the greens there are not as active there as usual, just because they don’t really want to look like perfect marginals here. And someone seriously can assume that all these people and structures, political and economic, were suddenly so imbued with love for everything Russian that, protecting Nord Stream 2 from very serious opponents on the other side of the ocean, they protect the interests of exactly what Moscow ?!
No, guys, they only protect something “their own” in this way.
And consequently, Euro-functionaries from BNA are now encroaching on neither Gazprom nor its insidious “interests”. This, if you will, is such an “economic civil war” within Germany and the EU itself. Moreover, the funny thing is that in the current circumstances Gazprom’s interests may be least affected: hardly anyone has doubts that after the crisis, European consumption will somehow fall, and it is unlikely that the Russian concern will need it - precisely for level of sales and contract execution - in the near future after the completion of construction of Nord Stream 2, fill the pipe to the very eyeballs.
So the question here is exclusively in the payback periods of this Baltic toy. And it’s certainly easier to address European concerns.
Because Gazprom will solve its basic tasks of diversifying the supply of Russian pipeline gas to the northwestern European (German) industrial cluster exactly at the time the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline is completed: the tasks are purely commercial and economic.
And it will be more convenient for them to decide Gazprom’s European partners in Nord Stream 2 AG. Gazprom is well aware of this and therefore is not very worried about the position of the Federal Network Agency of Germany.
At the operational level, we repeat, the Germans need to decide more — let them decide.
By the way, they are already deciding: this morning it became known that the German government will continue to support the companies participating in the Nord Stream-2 project.
At least, this is directly stated in the answer of the German cabinet to the request of the “Alternative for Germany” faction in the Bundestag. We quote: “The Government of Germany is now not aware of how the project will be technically implemented, but it proceeds from the fact that Nord Stream 2 will be completed. The government will continue to provide political support to participating companies. ”
Strictly speaking, as required.
But the most amazing thing in this already intricate drama is not even this, but that in whose direct commercial interests this undisguised and frank pressure is exerted on the European gas pipeline.
Well, it would seem, already a common place, who just did not write about it: in the interests of American LNG, of course. By and large, in the interests of those very revolutionary "American shales." And there is only one question: where is it now, right now, just after the fact, is this very American shale gas and its "commercial interest"? How does production, oil, related, not press?
There is no special secret here: the availability and redundancy of American “shale gas” is the product of a joint “shale revolution” along with oil production. Otherwise, he just would not take off.
And what, someone does not know what is happening with the “American shales” and for what reason even the American oilmen have made the actual decision to enter into an agreement that is almost officially called OPEC ++? What high-profile bankruptcies did this precede, and what natural decline in production now threatens the American oil and gas industries?
This is, of course, the most suitable time to launch our LNG into the falling European markets - there’s nothing to even comment on. Under such conditions, no one will build the promised liquefaction facilities on the East Coast or buy expensive gas carriers.
In the fall in new markets, no one enters at all, business colleagues can look like a madman.
In short, a question on the topic in whose interests the Federal Network Agency of Germany hurts the German energy giants, is it in this case more likely for young curious naturalists studying the European economic bureaucracy in its natural habitat. For us, this question is, of course, important, but far from paramount.
So. Volleys of the past war.
Because it’s much more important to us this weekend that the information appeared that the Gazprom-owned pipe-laying vessel Akademik Chersky, technically capable of completing the long-suffering Nord Stream-2 and spitting on any American sanctions, finally got to the Baltic seas. And that means that there is every reason to believe that after some time the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will be completed, as they say, “in iron”.
And what will be his subsequent mode of operation, it is unlikely now depends on both European energy officials and their Russian colleagues: it depends more on what the picture of the world will be after all of humanity emerges from the global economic crisis.
From how quickly, for example, consumption will recover in the “German industrial cluster”.
Or from what will end all aggravating and aggravating mutual economic (so far) “love” between old Europe and the USA. All these questions, unfortunately, do not currently have any definite answer. And we don’t even know yet the depth of the developing economic crisis, what can we say there.
Yes, what’s there: we don’t even know how the emerging political crisis between the United States and the PRC will end: and it will certainly affect the European economic theater of operations.
And it is against this background that the Federal Network Agency of Germany makes its outstanding, frankly, in the current conditions decision. Leading also Nord Stream 2 under the Third Energy Package.
Still, by the way, she hasn’t made it (the final decision will be issued after May 8).
But the result, it seems, is predictable: precisely because it is absurd, from which side just look at it.
Then, European concerns, of course, will challenge him and, most likely, they will “demolish” it quite quickly - this is banal to them. And they know how to do it in their natural habitat.
Moreover: the fact that Nord Stream 2 will be completed without accompanying scandals is unlikely that anyone expected, including ours, in Russia, after last year’s events. But the fact that modern Europe may turn out to be an unreliable partner, even for itself, even when the project is carried out obviously in its interests, is a very useful lesson for the future. And a very serious reason - as a real diversification of export supplies, only to the east - to accelerate the design and construction from the same Yamal resource base as that of Nord Stream 2, another gas pipeline: “Power of Siberia - 2”.
The author’s point of view may not coincide with the position of the publisher.