Nord Stream 2 Pipeline Set to Start Up Before the End of 2021

Sections of pipeline for the Nord Stream 2 project at the port of Mukran, Germany (file image)

Published Aug 19, 2021 10:19 PM by The Maritime Executive

Russian gas company Gazprom has given its clearest indication yet of the prospects for the startup of its Nord Stream 2 pipeline, advising that it will deliver a commercially important volume of gas to the European market by the end of 2021. 

According to Gazprom, Nord Stream 2 will be completed in time to ship 5.6 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Germany this year, with much more to follow. If achieved, it would be equivalent to just over one month of volume at the line's nameplate capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year.

Pipelay work on the new double-line Nord Stream 2 project was reported as 99 percent complete in July, and shoreside infrastructure at the landing site in Lubmin, Germany is complete. Unconfirmed reports indicate that pipelay operations could be completed as early as August 23, but the pipeline's developer, Nord Stream 2 AG, has declined to confirm the date and told Russian state outlet TASS that it was "speculation."

"We cannot confirm the speculations launched by some media outlets regarding the dates, as well as misinterpretation concerning the completion of pipelaying and construction of the whole pipeline. The pipeline is already more than 99 percent completed, and we will reveal the pipelaying completion in due time," the company said in a statement. 

After pipelay operations are finished, testing and certification procedures for each of the two pipelines will take 2-3 months, Nord Stream 2 managing director Matthias Warnig told Handelsblatt. The testing process for the first line is already under way. 

Nord Stream 2's progress was delayed in December 2019 when the U.S. Congress imposed sanctions on the project, forcing the exit of Swiss pipelay operator Allseas. Gazprom resumed work using Russian pipelay vessels this year, despite sanctions measures; when the Biden administration declined to take enforcement action against the many German firms engaged in the project, its completion was effectively certain.