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.

"Nord Stream 2 increases the dependency on Russia." – The only country completely dependent on Russian gas is Russia.
„Nord Stream 2 erhöht die Abhängigkeit von Russland.“

This kind of scaremongering does not reflect reality. The only country completely dependent on Russian gas is Russia. 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. 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 20%. Meanwhile, pipelines connecting the Central and Eastern European countries can already deliver 147 bcm from West to East. 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." – Whoever talks about a political weapon should consider where the barrel is pointing, and whose finger is on the trigger!
„Nord Stream 2 wird von Russland als politische Waffe benutzt.“

Whoever talks about a political weapon should consider where the barrel is pointing, and whose finger is on the trigger! Diversification of the EU market is progressing rapidly, improving significantly in 22 of the 28 member countries, according to European Commission Vice President Šefčovič. Today Poland can already get 90% of its gas from non-Russian sources. Meanwhile, EU-funded Projects of Common Interest sparked further investments of €800 million in 2017 and will continue to improve energy infrastructure. 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. Looking into the political case made against Nord Stream 2 it is obvious that it is the West that has its finger on the trigger of this “political weapon”.

"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.
„Die EU braucht keine weitere Pipeline wie Nord Stream 2.“

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 20%, but no one questions their existence or the wisdom of EU taxpayer support for more LNG terminals.

"Nord Stream 2 undermines the EU’s diversification goals." – Focusing on diversification for diversification’s sake is no solution and creates expensive results.
„Nord Stream 2 widerspricht den Diversifizierungszielen der EU.“

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.
„Nord Stream 2 ist gegen die Klimaziele der EU.“

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. Nord Stream 2 alone would lower the EU’s annual power sector emissions by 15%, or 160 million tonnes, 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. 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.
„Nord Stream 2 wird einen Verlust von zwei Milliarden Dollar für die Ukraine verursachen.“

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 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.

Facts & Figures

80% utilisation

Nord Stream operated at 80 percent of delivery capacity in 2016

Utilisation of the existing Nord Stream pipeline has increased every year since it opened in 2011, reaching 80 percent of its total transportation capacity in 2016. Around 43.8 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas was delivered to EU consumers during the year – enough to supply over 20 million households.

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 will be consulted

Nord Stream 2 will pass through the territorial waters and/or the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany. Through the international permitting process, Nord Stream 2 will seek permits to construct and operate the pipeline from each of these countries. Other neighbouring Baltic states – Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – will also be consulted.

200,000 pipes make up the whole pipeline

Nord Stream 2 will be a twin pipeline stretching 1,200 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.

Pipeline has walls up to 41 mm thick and 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.

40,000 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.

3km per day

The pipeline can be laid through the Baltic Sea 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.