Meet the rizzos stream energy

Nord Stream 2 means gains for Germany but pain for Europe | Bruegel

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  • Nord Stream 2 means gains for Germany but pain for Europe

On the other hand, Ukraine would be sure to see the building of Nord Stream 2 as a clear sign of distrust from Europe. Indeed, Ukraine has redoubled its efforts to reform its gas sector, and the changes are already bearing fruit.

The state-owned gas company needs much less public subsidy, and gas consumption is massively reduced. Western gas companies are setting up in the Ukrainian market, and there is justified hope that in some years Ukraine will be able to meet all its own gas needs from domestic production.

Without gas transit through Ukraine, EU countries would not really have enough gas to supply Ukraine from the west. These supplies consist overwhelmingly of gas that originally flowed into Slovakia through Ukraine. Therefore, bypassing Ukraine with Nord Stream 2 would force Kiev to return to buying gas directly from Gazprom.

This dependant relationship would probably be more than just economic in nature. Is that really a situation that the EU wants to encourage? The second main argument for Nord Stream 2 is that falling gas production in north-west Europe makes additional infrastructure for Russian imports necessary.

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But increasing needs can be met for at least the next decade using existing pipelines: Even if the need for imports does suddenly shoot up, Europe is still in no danger of a gas supply crisis. Necessary extra gas can easily be imported from overseas at any time using the existing liquid gas terminals.

meet the rizzos stream energy

Gazprom would surely try to use the new pipeline at full capacity, and the constant stream of gas could be flexibly priced to react to any competition. This would make the development of other supplies and energy sources difficult over the coming decades. Nord Stream 2 is of strategic importance for Russia and the EU, in terms of both energy and geopolitics.

But the interests of the two partners do not neatly overlap. Building the pipeline too soon would leave Ukraine dependent on direct Russian gas exports, and hinder the search for alternative supplies in Europe.

Nord Stream 2 can wait

It would make it possible for Gazprom to improve its market position in north-west Europe, offering lower prices to compete against liquid natural gas LNG and western European production, while pushing through higher prices to the East.

At the moment Russian natural gas has to flow through eastern Europe to reach western Europe. But with Nord Stream 2 Gazprom would be able to bring large quantities to market in north-west Europe directly through Germany. German traders would, of course, try to buy this gas at low prices and sell it at a higher price further East.

meet the rizzos stream energy

But the relevant pipeline capacity in a West-East direction is limited. With Gazprom directly supplying large quantities of gas to the west European markets, avoiding eastern Europe, the existing West-East capacity would quickly be exhausted. This would make it impossible to deliver any more gas from north-western countries to the South-East of Europe.

Nord Stream 2 can wait | Bruegel

This way Gazprom would have an essentially captive market in south-eastern countries, with a significant demand for natural gas. This would not only mean higher prices in Central and Eastern Europe.

meet the rizzos stream energy

It would also allow Gazprom to turn off the gas tap for these countries, without breaking its commitments to western European countries. So, Nord Stream 2 looks like a project where Gazprom and the German gas industry do well at the expense of other central and eastern Europeans. This undertaking might be profitable for the participating companies, but the effects for the EU as a whole could be negative.

What is more, there could also be political consequences if Gazprom achieves unfettered power on the markets in parts of eastern Europe. Especially for Ukraine, the need to negotiate gas provision directly with Moscow again could have consequences that go far beyond commercial disadvantages.