The first gas to be transported through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline should arrive at midnight on 31 December 2019, said Rainer Seele, CEO of the Austrian company OMV in a press conference, a video of which was published by the company on Twitter.
“We expect that the first gas will come through this pipeline by the end of the year – before midnight on 31 December. And we have not given up on this plan. But one thing is also clear: the commissioning of this pipeline depends very highly on when Denmark issues the final authorization,” Seele explained.
According to the CEO, 70% of the pipeline has already been laid along the bottom of the Baltic Sea, and there have not yet been any delays in construction.
Last weekend the Financial Times said that August would be a “critical month” for the construction of Nord Stream 2. Citing anonymous sources, the newspaper wrote that if in the next three or four weeks Denmark does not give consent for the pipeline to pass through its territorial waters, it will not be possible to complete the pipeline before the end of the year. Copenhagen is currently considering applications for three different routes.
On 1 January, Gazprom’s contract to transit Russian gas to Europe through Ukraine will expire, and no new contract has been signed. If Nord Stream 2 is completed on time, it will coincide with the end of Gazprom’s current contract with Ukraine.
Nord Stream 2 comprises of two pipelines that will span from the coast of Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany alongside the existing Nord Stream pipeline. The pipe is being laid by Gazprom’s subsidiary Nord Stream AG. The Austrian company OMV is one of the primary investors in the pipeline’s construction. If completed, the pipe will have a total length of more than 1,200 km and cost an estimated 9.5 billion euros.