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.
|"Nord Stream 2 increases the dependency on Russia."||The country that is most dependent on Russian gas is Russia itself.|
This misconception does not reflect reality. The country that is most dependent on Russian gas is Russia itself. Russian gas currently accounts for around 30% of the EU’s gas consumption. This share will not fundamentally change with Nord Stream 2 because it will only account for part of the increased import capacities that the EU will need. Diversification is a real EU success story (see ACER Market Monitoring Report 2016). There are 22 LNG terminals, and with a capacity of 216 bcm, they could import 50% of the current demand. However, these terminals are only utilised at some 27% (see market study on EU LNG infrastructure). Meanwhile, pipelines connecting the Central and Eastern European countries can already deliver 147 bcm from West to East (see e.g. article on EnergyPost). Even Ukraine’s import demand has been fully supplied via a West-East connection since November 2015. Think resilience, not dependence.
|"Nord Stream 2 is used by Russia as a political weapon."||In light of the EU's strong diversification, it appears that it is the West that is using a simple pipeline project for political purposes.|
Diversification of the EU market is progressing rapidly, improving significantly in 22 of the 28 member countries, according to European Commission Vice President Šefčovič (see speech in the European Parliament on February 1, 2017). Today Poland can already get 90% of its gas from non-Russian sources (see PGNiG strategy for 2017-2022, page 18). Meanwhile, EU-funded Projects of Common Interest sparked further investments of €800 million in 2017 alone and will continue to improve energy infrastructure (see interactive PCI map). A new connection between Estonia and Finland will start construction this year, while in two years Bulgaria will be connected to Greece, and LNG tankers now regularly land in Lithuania and Poland. Russia, on the other hand, increasingly has to defend its place in the EU market. In light of the EU’s strong diversification, it appears that it is the West that is using a simple pipeline project for political purposes.
|"Nord Stream 2 could be abused for marine surveillance equipment."||Nord Stream 2 will consist of only two strings of concrete-coated steel pipelines on the seabed. Nothing more.|
Any and all equipment required for the operation of the pipeline will be installed at the landfalls, as detailed in the permit applications filed in the countries whose waters the pipeline crosses. There is no surveillance or tracking equipment (and no power source or data connection) on the offshore pipeline. The entire process of approval, construction and operation will be the same as that of the existing Nord Stream Pipeline.
Authorities have the right to check materials and the construction process wherever (pipe storages, lay barges etc.) and whenever they want.
A pipeline developer or operator would jeopardise their license to construct or operate a pipeline by installing anything beyond what was submitted as part of the permit application. The consequences would be losses in the multi-millions.
Furthermore, none of the authorities in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland or Russia have raised this concern during the permitting processes for this project.
|"The EU does not need another pipeline like Nord Stream 2."||Gas production in the EU is in decline, and this needs to be compensated for with new imports.|
The European industry and energy sectors disagree: Gas production in the EU is in decline, and this needs to be compensated for with new imports. And these imports need to be competitive. The chemical sector with more than one million employees, for example, is highly dependent on a secure and competitive energy supply. Nord Stream 2 is one part of the solution, as are LNG supplies from around the world. The average utilisation of some 22 LNG terminals in the EU is around just 27% (see market study on EU LNG infrastructure), but no one questions their existence or the wisdom of EU taxpayer support for more LNG terminals.
|"Nord Stream 2 would be implemented in a legal void."||If offshore pipeline construction happens in a legal void - are there no traffic rules for LNG tankers? Are offshore wind farms built illegally?|
The complex nine-nation permitting and consultation process for the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline involves multiple authorities that employ hundreds of legal and environmental specialists. This is not for entertainment purposes! It is a reflection of the vast body of national, EU and international law that forms the basis for pipeline development. What about the many pipelines from outside the EU crossing the Mediterranean? If offshore pipeline construction happens in a legal void – are there no traffic rules for LNG tankers? Are offshore wind farms built illegally? No, obviously not – there are laws, rules and codes already in place for all of this.
|"Nord Stream 2 undermines the EU’s diversification goals."||Focusing on diversification for diversification's sake is no solution and creates expensive results.|
It is time for the rhetoric to catch up with reality: by and large, 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. Five major EU gas companies have also decided to do their part and invest in Nord Stream 2, opting for a new state-of-the-art pipeline system that will provide the most cost-effective connection to the world’s largest gas reserves in Russia. Focusing on diversification for diversification’s sake is no solution and creates expensive results.
|"Nord Stream 2 is against the EU’s climate goals."||Campaigners against Nord Stream 2 should ask themselves if their support for coal and fracking-derived LNG would really be helping the EU to meet its climate goals.|
If the EU is serious about reaching climate goals, then the share of gas in the energy mix needs to be increased to eliminate coal burning (see Eurogas). Nord Stream 2 alone would lower the EU’s annual power sector emissions by 15%, or 160 million tonnes (equivalent to the emissions of 30 million cars), if it were to replace coal. And if gas is to play this role, then it needs to come to Europe in the most environmentally sustainable way. 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). Campaigners against Nord Stream 2 should ask themselves if their support for coal and fracking-derived LNG would really be helping the EU to meet its climate goals.
|"Nord Stream 2 will cause a $2 billion loss to Ukraine."||The economic feasibility of any gas transport infrastructure for any operator depends on their competitiveness, in addition to trust from the clients at both ends of the pipe.|
The economic feasibility of any gas transport infrastructure for any operator depends on their competitiveness, in addition to trust from the clients at both ends of the pipe. Forcing any supplier to use a certain supply route is not compatible with market economics. The prerequisite is long-term technical reliability, which needs a commitment to maintenance. Emergency (!) repair funds from the EBRD and EIB (see EBRD project overview) can help to keep one pipeline system that amounts to 30 bcm of capacity safely operational beyond 2020. By the way, some basic economics: The $2 billion figure in question refers to the transit contract billing amount – not revenue from transporting gas. After deducting operating costs and fuel gas for the compressors, this should leave several hundred million dollars. An essential part of this sum should have been invested in the modernisation and maintenance of the system. The European consumer over years has paid into this system – but the required maintenance has not happened.
|"Germany is undermining European energy solidarity by its support for Nord Stream 2."||Nord Stream 2 is a project that benefits all of Europe, including millions of consumers in terms of lower energy prices.|
Germany has been heavily criticised by some for its role in the implementation of the pipeline. However, Nord Stream 2 is a project that benefits all of Europe, including millions of consumers in terms of lower energy prices (see studies by Arthur D. Little and ewi Energy Research & Scenarios). Gas delivered through Nord Stream 2 will be delivered to customers throughout all of Europe and over 670 companies from 25 countries are involved in the construction of the pipeline. Furthermore, Germany has shown and continues to show international solidarity in the field of energy supply and security: state-owned banks and government institutions provide millions of euros in financing for the development of strategic energy infrastructure projects (see e.g. Ukraine and Azerbaijan). Lastly, the European gas market is more diversified and resilient than ever before. Today the European gas market is truly a buyers’ market, where no single supplier can exert political pressure.
Facts & Figures
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.
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, and Germany have all granted the necessary permits for construction and operation. The process is ongoing in Denmark. 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 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.
59,000 km were 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.