We have bought into the simplistic notion that all history begins now – at this very second. It was never going to end well.
Photo: Construction of Nord Stream 2
30 May 2022 | James Porteous | Clipper Media News
If we want simple – the US and its allies have been fighting against Nord Stream 2 for many years. Their main issue was the ‘fear’ that once it was operational, the EU might fall prey to energy ‘blackmail’ should Russia ever decide to unilaterally cut off the supply. One part of that turned out to be true: The EU has become a victim of energy blackmail. But it was not perpetrated by Russia. JP
Nord Stream 2: A Key to the War in Ukraine
01 May 2022 | Daniel Miguel López Rodríguez | The Postil Magazine
Beneath the soil of Ukraine is a network of gas pipelines through which part of the Russian supply to Europe passes. Between 2004 and 2005, 80% of Russian gas destined for Europe passed through the Ukrainian subsurface.
When Gazprom (the Russian state-owned energy giant) cut off supplies to the Ukrainians in January 2006 and January 2009, the Ukrainians appropriated the gas destined for Europe, resulting in huge losses for those countries highly dependent on Russian gas, and this in turn greatly discredited Russia as a supplier.
In order to avoid this Ukrainian transit system, the Russians decided to build two new gas pipelines. Gazprom said that linking a gas pipeline directly to Germany without the need to go through transit countries would avoid cutting off Russian gas exports to Western Europe, as had already happened twice.
Thus, was born the Nord Stream (Northern Stream, Севеверный поток) project, a gas pipeline that would link Russia to Europe (directly to Germany via the Baltic Sea) without the need to pass through Ukraine or Belarus.
Since April 2006, Poland’s Defense Minister Radek Sikorski compared the agreements on building a gas pipeline to the German-Soviet non-aggression pact, the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact signed in the early morning of August 24, 1939, because Poland is particularly sensitive to agreements made over its head.
Every pact made by Russia and Germany will be linked to that pact and will thus be demonized (this is how simplistic propaganda is—but it is equally effective, not because of the merit of the propagandists but because of the demerit of the ignorant masses, who abound).
The Swedish Minister of Defense, Mikael Odenberg, pointed to the project as a danger to Sweden’s security policy, as the gas pipeline passing through the Baltic would motivate the presence of the Russian Navy in Sweden’s economic zone, which the Russians would take advantage of to benefit their military intelligence. In fact, Putin justified the presence of the Russian Navy to ensure ecological security.
The German weekly Stern speculated that the fiber optic cable and repeater stations along the pipeline could be used for Russian espionage. But Nord Stream AG (the pipeline builder) responded by arguing that a fiber optic control cable was not necessary and had not even been planned. Gazprom’s Deputy Chairman of the Board, Alexander Medvedev, dismissed the issue by pointing out that “Some objections are put forward that are laughable – political, military or linked to spying.
That is really surprising because in the modern world… it is laughable to say a gas pipeline is a weapon in a spy war.” Wherever the Russians are, there is always the fear of spies (there is not the same suspicion with the Yankees, despite Edward Snowden’s revelations—Hell is always on the other side).
The Rockefellerian Greenpeace also complained about the construction of the gas pipeline, since it would cross several zones catalogued as marine conservation areas.
On June 13, 2007, in response to ecological concerns, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, stated that “Russia fully respects the desire to provide for the 100% environmental sustainability of the project and that Russia is fully supportive of such an approach, and that all environmental concerns would be addressed in the process of environmental impact assessment.”
The pipeline was inaugurated on November 8, 2011, at a ceremony in the municipality of Lubmin (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev; also present were French Prime Minister François Fillon and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
There were also plans to build South Stream, a gas pipeline that was to run from Russia to Bulgaria, across the Black Sea, reaching Greece and Italy. But it was eventually cancelled in favor of Blue Stream, which carries natural gas from southern Russia to Turkey via the Black Sea. Thanks to this pipeline, Turkey is the second largest importer of Russian gas, second only to Germany.
While Germany was able to carry out the Nord Stream 1 project, Greece and Italy saw their South Stream project scrapped. This is a sign of who has more power in the pretentious European Union. But Nord Stream 2 has not been able to go that far and—as we shall see—the Germans have bowed to the dictates of the Americans.
Nord Stream 1 consists of two gas pipelines running from Vyborg (northwest Russia) to Greifswald (northeast Germany). It has the capacity to transport 55 billion cubic meters per year, although in 2021 it was capable of transporting 59.2 billion cubic meters. It is the pipeline through which the largest volume of gas to the EU passes.
Work on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline lasted from 2018 to 2021, and it is estimated that the pipeline material can last about 50 years. The pipeline starts from the Slavyanskaya compressor station near the port of Ust-Luga (in the Kingiseppsky district of Leningrad Oblast) to Greifswald (West Pomerania). In 2019 the Swiss company Allsea, which was in charge of laying the pipeline, abandoned the project and Gazprom had to complete it on its own.
The first line was completed in June 2021 and the second completed in September. It was planned to open in mid-2022, which was intended to double the gas transported to 110 billion cubic meters per year. In addition to Gazprom, the partners to build Nord Stream 2 were Uniper, Wintershall, OMV, Engie and Shell plc.
The German government approved the project in March 2018, in order to move Germany away from nuclear power and coal (i.e., for environmentalist reasons, always hot-topics in Germany, especially since the not-particularly-democratic times). The costs of the gas pipeline are estimated at 9.9 billion euros: 4.75 billion were put in by Gazprom and the rest by its partners.
Nord Stream 2 would have completed third and fourth lines (compared to the first and second lines of Nord Stream 1). Through the Baltic, Nord Stream 1 and 2 basically follow the same route. Both pipelines take their gas from fields on the Yamal peninsula and from the Ob and Taz bays. With the two pipelines (with four lines in total), Germany would supply Russian gas to other countries, which would undoubtedly improve the situation in the European market, overcoming the energy crisis.
The Germans went so far as to argue that Nord Stream 2 would be more cost-effective than overland deliveries through Eastern Europe. Russia has supplied 35.4% of the gas reaching Germany (and with Nord Stream 2 it would have doubled the amount) and 34% of the oil.
The main opponents of Nord Stream 2 have been the Baltic countries, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary(?), Romania, Croatia, Moldova—and mainly Poland and Ukraine; all of them supported by the European Commission and the US. These countries opposed Nord Stream 2 because a direct gas pipeline to Germany could mean the stoppage of energy supplies to them, as well as depriving them of lucrative transit tariffs.
Chronology of U.S. Policy against Nord Stream 2
U.S. complaints against the pipeline are not exclusive to the Biden Administration (which was pressured by its own fellow Democrats to take a hard line against Russia, hence calling Putin a “murderer;” as if the Obama Administration of which Biden was Vice President had not committed countless war crimes, far more than Russia may have committed—but the first African-American president is a demon who “does not smell of sulfur”). Already with Obama, the protests began when the project was not yet fully been put together (the idea of the project began to take shape in October 2012).
With the Trump Administration the complaints dragged on, and never stopped, even though at first Trump claimed that he would not enforce the Act against America’s enemies through sanctions on Russian energy exports. But before long he would change his mind. Trump even threatened to impose tariffs on EU countries, and proposed reopening talks to forge a U.S.-EU trade deal, if the draft were canceled.
On January 27, 2018, coinciding with the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (who was a former CEO of Exxon Mobil, i.e., this was a Rockefeller man infiltrating the Trump Administration, who would eventually be ousted by the more loyal Mike Pompeo) argued that the U.S. and Poland opposed Nord Stream 2, because it was considered a danger to Europe’s energy security and stability, ” and it provides Russia yet another tool to politicize energy as a political tool.”
U.S. senators from both parties were concerned in March 2018, when the German government approved the project, and wrote that ” “by circumventing Ukraine, Nord Stream II will remove one of the biggest reasons for Russia to avoid large-scale conflict in Eastern Ukraine—as the Kremlin is well aware.”
Ukraine’s transit used to supply 44% of Russian gas for the EU, pocketing the (increasingly corrupt) state coffers some $3 billion a month. But with Nord Stream 2, this was to change and the transit through the Ukrainian subsoil was to be reduced by a further 10 times.
This would have caused Ukraine to lose 3% of its GDP. In Ukraine this was seen as undermining its sovereignty and also the collective energy security of the whole of Europe, as transit of gas through Ukraine deters Russian aggression, and this would end with the opening of Nord Stream 2, which in turn would have made Germany the main gas hub in Europe.
The U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, sent a letter in January 2019 to the companies in charge of building the pipeline, urging them to abandon the project and threatening them with sanctions if they continued with the project. In December of that year, Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Ron Johson also pressured the project companies.
European Council President Donald Tusk, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and then British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson also protested against the construction of Nord Stream 2. Tusk made it clear that the pipeline was not in the interests of the European Union. European Commission officials stated that “Nord Stream 2 does not enhance our [EU] energy security.”
Nord Stream 2 is something that divided the EU. Although when the Oval Office of the White House was occupied by Donald Trump the project did not seem so bad, and both France, Austria and Germany, plus the European Commission, criticized the United States (i.e., the Trump Administration) for new sanctions against Russia because of the pipeline, as they complained that the United States was threatening Europe’s energy supply.
So complained Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern and German Foreign Minister Sigman Gabriel in a joint statement: “Europe’s energy supply is a matter for Europe, and not for the United States of America.” And they added: “To threaten companies from Germany, Austria and other European states with penalties on the U.S. market if they participate in natural gas projects such as Nord Stream 2 with Russia or finance them introduces a completely new and very negative quality into European-American relations.” But—as we are about to see—German politicians, with the Social Democratic government, have not been so bold with the Biden Administration.