Fact-Checking Myths

Nord Stream 2 is a complex project that involves discussion of many issues, including energy security, environmental protection, international relations and market dynamics. We already provide a vast trove of information and present the project in hundreds of events, hearings and conferences.

But there is still a lot of misinformation, deliberately repeated by political opponents and commercial competitors.

Below we counter these myths with facts.

"Germany undermines EU energy solidarity by supporting Nord Stream 2" Gas imported through Nord Stream 2 will be delivered to customers throughout Europe, not just to Germany.
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Thanks to the increasingly integrated and interconnected nature of the EU internal gas market, Nord Stream 2 is a project that could benefit all of Europe (see studies by Arthur D. Little and ewi Energy Research & Scenarios). The offshore pipeline will be connected to the EU internal market at the German landfall, from which gas will flow anywhere it is needed in the EU, at prices set by the market. Furthermore, the privately financed project is providing important economic stimulus by bringing over 1,000 companies from 25 countries into the planning, engineering and construction of the pipeline system.

"Nord Stream 2 increases Germany’s dependence on Russia" The German gas market is already well diversified and infrastructure continues to be developed.
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Gas imported via Nord Stream 2 would not just be for Germany, but for the EU. This is because gas imported into the EU from any source can now flow anywhere within the EU internal market, at prices set by the market. The German gas market is already diversified. In 2018 Germany imported 55.3 bcm of gas from Russia, 24.7 bcm from Norway and 15.8 bcm from the Netherlands. Germany can also access LNG arriving in Europe via terminals in the Netherlands, Belgium and France. Meanwhile, plans are being developed for an LNG terminal in Germany, which will further diversify gas sources in that market.

"Nord Stream 2 increases Europe’s dependence on Russia" Russia and Europe are interdependent, and competition with LNG will set the share of Russian gas in the EU market.
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In terms of gas supply, Russia and Europe are interdependent: Europe is Russia’s main market, and – as long as its gas is competitive – Russia is Europe’s main supplier. Russian gas currently accounts for around one-third of the EU’s gas consumption. But how much Russian gas Europe imports in the future will depend on competition between Russian gas and other sources such as LNG. Suppliers from many different countries now compete to supply the EU internal market. In addition to import pipelines, there are currently 22 LNG terminals in the EU to receive LNG from anywhere in the world. With a capacity of 216 bcm, these terminals could import 50 percent of the EU’s current demand, but are currently only utilised at some 27 percent of capacity (see market study on EU LNG infrastructure).

"Nord Stream 2 threatens Europe’s energy security" Europe can rely on a functioning internal energy market in which natural gas competes with other energy sources, and gas-exporting countries compete with each other.
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With EU gas production projected to decline by half in the face of stable demand, Europe’s future energy security will depend on secure, reliable imports at competitive prices. This supply gap will need to be closed by Russian gas and LNG in competition with each other. In recent years the EU has created a functioning internal energy market in which natural gas competes with other energy sources – and gas-exporting countries compete to supply the market. Nord Stream 2 is a fully financed project, and five major EU energy companies have each committed up to €950 million. These investments are an important contribution to Europe’s long-term energy security.

"Nord Stream 2 does not comply with the EU’s Energy Union" Nord Stream 2 is an additional supply route that contributes to greater diversification and security of supply for consumers, in line with the goals of the EU’s energy policy.
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The new pipeline will directly contribute to the EU’s ability to achieve the three key objectives of its Energy Union: secure, sustainable, and affordable/competitive energy. The EU cannot pursue these objectives simultaneously without sufficient natural gas supplies. Gas via import pipelines such as Nord Stream 2 will compete with LNG to supply the EU’s inter-connected internal market, where it should now be able to flow wherever it is needed at prices set by the market. Nord Stream 2 is independent from the existing Nord Stream pipeline system, ensuring that potential problems with one system do not affect the other. This diversification creates greater security of supply for European consumers.

"Nord Stream 2 does not comply with EU law" Nord Stream 2 is being built in line with national, EU and international law.
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The new pipeline is being built in line with permits issued by the competent authorities in the countries through whose waters the pipeline passes. The authorities in EU Member States ensure that EU Directives are covered in their permitting processes. The complex nine-nation permitting and consultation process for the pipeline has involved multiple authorities that employ hundreds of legal and environmental specialists. This is a reflection of the vast body of national, EU and international law that forms the legal framework for pipeline development.

"Nord Stream 2 is a political project" Nord Stream 2 is a privately-financed project that has acquired a political dimension, in that attempts are being made to influence or stop it for political reasons.
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The new pipeline is a privately-financed commercial project financed by six major energy companies. This new pipeline system will be competitive, reliable and state-of-the art. Its purpose is to provide a reliable direct link between the EU and the world’s largest gas reserves in Northern Russia. The project has acquired a political dimension, in that attempts are being made to influence or stop the project for political reasons, or political arguments are used as a cover for competing commercial interests seeking to protect existing or planned energy infrastructure.

"Nord Stream 2 is being used by Russia as a political weapon" Nord Stream 2 is a commercial pipeline project that is being attacked for political purposes.
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Russia is not using the pipeline for political purposes. It is working with European partners to build a direct link between the EU and the massive gas reserves in Northern Russia to ensure long-term security of gas supply to its main market, Europe. This commercial pipeline project is being attacked for political purposes, such as demonising Russia and promoting or protecting other gas supply or transit solutions. Furthermore, the European gas market has changed over the past decade and is now more diversified and resilient than ever (see ACER Market Monitoring Report 2016, 2017 and 2018). It is now truly a buyers’ market, where no single supplier can exert political pressure.

"The EU does not need another pipeline like Nord Stream 2" Gas production is declining in the EU, and new imports are needed to compensate for this.
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Nord Stream 2 will help the EU fill the growing supply gap for natural gas. When the project launched in 2015 it was based on the prediction of an increased gas import requirement of 120 bcm by 2035. Industry experts expect Russian gas and LNG to compete to fill this gap. European industry and energy sectors also see the need for this new energy infrastructure: EU gas production is in serious decline, while demand is expected to remain stable at the very least. This shortfall needs to be compensated for with additional imports, which need to be competitive. Nord Stream 2 is one part of the solution, as are LNG supplies from around the world. Competition between the two will benefit EU consumers and EU energy security.

"Nord Stream 2 undermines the EU’s diversification goals" The EU gas market is already well diversified, and Nord Stream 2 will help further increase competition and diversification.
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Diversification is already a reality within Europe’s gas market. Creating this competitive internal market was the EU’s goal – and it has been successful thanks to large investments in interconnectivity and new LNG terminals. Nord Stream 2 is distinct from Nord Stream: Both bring gas directly from Russia to the EU via the Baltic Sea, but are separate systems with different landfalls. Other pipelines and LNG terminals are also planned or under construction, and will further increase competition and diversification in the EU.

"Nord Stream 2 compromises the EU’s climate goals" Nord Stream 2 will provide competitive supplies of natural gas, helping replace coal and providing back-up for renewables.
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The opposite is true! The new pipeline could play an important role in the EU’s climate strategy by making competitive supplies of natural gas available to replace high-carbon coal in the energy mix, in addition to providing back-up for intermittent wind and solar power. If the EU is serious about reaching climate goals, then the share of gas in the energy mix needs to increase to eliminate coal burning (see Eurogas). Nord Stream 2 is the most direct route to the world’s largest gas reserves – and has the lowest greenhouse gas footprint compared to alternatives (see study by ThinkStep).

"Nord Stream 2 will cause a $2 billion loss to Ukraine" Nord Stream 2 alone will not able to meet all demand for gas, let alone replace existing transit capacity in Ukraine, which will continue to play a role.
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This misleading claim assumes that Ukraine will lose all its transit volumes when Nord Stream 2 comes on stream, but that will not necessarily be the case. In 2018 Gazprom delivered more than 200 bcm to Europe (including non-EU countries), of which 87 bcm transited through Ukraine. With forecast sales of over 200 bcm to Europe beyond 2019, Gazprom sees a continuing role for Ukraine. Looking further ahead, the steep decline in European gas production combined with stable demand will leave supply gap to be made up by increased imports of approximately 120 bcm per year. Nord Stream 2 will be able to transport 55 bcm per year, so even at full capacity it could not meet all the extra demand, let alone replace all existing capacity. Furthermore, the $2 billion figure (some claim $3 billion) in question is misleading and refers to the transit contract billing amount without consideration for the costs of providing transit services.

Facts & Figures

3km per day

The pipeline is being laid at a rate of up to 3 km per day

Pipe lay vessels act as floating factories, welding and testing pipe sections before joining them onto the main pipe string. Pipe sections must be delivered to the vessels in time to maintain the 24 hour production schedule.

80% utilisation

Nord Stream delivered at full capacity in 2018

Utilisation of the existing Nord Stream pipeline has increased every year since it opened in 2011, reaching a record volume in 2018. The Nord Stream 2 Pipeline will provide additional capacities to meet the EU’s growing energy needs.

Generating electricity from gas instead of coal produces ~50 percent less CO₂

Switching from coal-fired power generation to gas can help the EU meet its goal of reducing CO₂ emissions 40 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. In fact, Nord Stream 2 could save about 14 percent of the EU‘s total CO₂ emissions from power generation if natural gas from the pipeline were used to replace coal-fired power stations.

The pipeline will transport enough gas to supply 26 million households

Nord Stream 2 can make a major contribution to EU energy security, but further additional supplies will be needed to fill the future gap between supply and demand in the EU. The new pipeline will supplement existing transport routes and complement other new gas supplies such as liquid natural gas (LNG) and the Southern Corridor.

Nine states have been consulted

The pipeline will pass through the territorial waters and/or the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of five countries. Through the international permitting process, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany have all granted the necessary permits. Other neighbouring Baltic states – Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – were also consulted.

200,000 pipes make up the whole pipeline

Nord Stream 2 will be a twin pipeline stretching 1,230 km through the Baltic Sea. Each line will comprise around 100,000 individual pipes, each 12 m in length. Once pipe-laying begins, up to 3 kilometres of pipe can be laid each day.

One of the longest offshore gas pipelines in the world

Nord Stream 2 will travel through the Baltic Sea, starting from the coast of Russia and reaching landfall near Greifswald in Germany. It will run roughly parallel to the existing Nord Stream pipeline.

Each pipe joint is 12 metres long and weighs 24 tonnes

The 12-m pipe sections will be welded together and then laid into the Baltic Sea using a pipelay vessel. Every weld is tested to ensure that it meets Nord Stream 2’s high quality standards, and the completed pipeline will undergo further testing by an independent certification body before gas can flow.

The pipe walls are up to 41 mm thick with a constant internal diameter of 1,153 mm

The pipes are coated internally to reduce friction, and externally to reduce corrosion, increase protection and add weight, making the pipeline more stable on the seabed.

By 2035, the EU will need to import about 120 bcm more gas per year

The production outlooks of major gas producers such as Netherlands and UK, as well as Norway, are falling. At the same time, demand for gas is expected to continue, owing to its lower carbon qualities. This means that the EU will need to import more gas. Nord Stream 2 will have the capacity to meet about one third of the EU’s import requirement.

71,000 km will be sailed to research the Baltic Sea environment

Nord Stream 2 is committed to meeting the highest standards for environmental protection and social responsibility. The company will follow the example set by Nord Stream to create a pipeline that is in harmony with the Baltic Sea. The environmental studies undertaken by Nord Stream are one of the most significant analyses of the Baltic Sea ecosystem.

47,800 bcm: Russia has the largest natural gas reserves in the world

Nord Stream 2 will deliver gas to Europe from the vast natural gas field Bovanenkovo in North Russia’s Yamal Peninsula, which holds some 4.9 trillion cubic metres of gas reserves. This field alone holds more than twice as much gas as the total proven reserves of the EU (1.9 trillion).

Proportion of Russian gas in total EU energy consumption

Nord Stream 2 builds on over 40 years of EU-Russian energy co-operation. Russia is the world’s biggest gas exporter and major long-term investments mean Russian reserves are amongst the most cost-effective sources to supply Europe. The EU has a diverse energy mix and natural gas from Russia makes up only a small portion of total energy supplies. 

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