MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Nord Stream 2 is planned to become operational in 2019. The project needs to be greenlighted by Germany, Finland and Denmark. The main opponents to the new pipeline are Poland and Ukraine. Kiev fears that Nord Stream 2 will diminish its role a transit country for Russian gas supplied to Europe, thus stripping the Ukrainian budget of considerable transit fees.
"Taking into account the growth in consumption in Europe and the decline in production of our European partners, Nord Stream 2 is an absolutely natural project," Putin said during talks with BASF chemical giant CEO Kurt Bock.
He underscored that "this project is not directed against any of our partners."
"Moreover, we are ready to continue our relationship with all our partners, including with Ukraine as a transit country," Putin said.
An agreement on Nord Stream-2, involving the expansion of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, was signed in early-September 2014, during the Eastern Economic Forum in Russia's Vladivostok. The project includes two pipeline strings, with a total annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas, from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.
Earlier, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak estimated construction costs at €8 billion ($8.5 billion), but they could reach €9.9 billion ($10.5 billion) including borrowed funds.
Nord Stream 2 AG company has been established to develop and operate the pipeline.
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