The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is practically completed, and the United States has no way of influencing the situation, reported Die Welt.
Despite Washington’s efforts to hamper the process, Moscow managed to circumvent restrictive measures imposed against the ambitious project, that is scheduled to carry up to 1.942 trillion cubic feet of gas per year from Russia to Germany through the territorial waters or exclusive economic zones of Denmark, Finland, Germany, Russia, and Sweden.
The German publication notes that the Akademik Cherskiy pipe-laying vessel owned by Gazprom has now been registered with the Samara Thermal Energy Property Fund (STIF), operating in Russia, according to the international registry of ships.
This allows the state-owned corporation to complete the gas pipeline, circumventing Washington’s restrictions.
All possible technical means are being used to complete the construction of Nord Stream 2, the economic and investment project is ready, said Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak has said in an interview with Handelsblatt newspaper.
"The Nord Stream 2 project has already been completed in terms of investment and economic viability. All possible technical means are used for the purely physical completion of construction work," said the minister.
Ambitious Project Nearing Completion
“Akademik Chersky” has been thrown in the spotlight after it was identified as the vessel potentially linked with the completion of the Nord Stream-2 venture. The pipe-laying vessels of the Swiss contractor Allseas had withdrawn from the project after their owners were threatened with US sanctions for their involvement.
Akademik Cherskiy pipelayer became Marine Traffic’s most searched for vessel in May after it made a journey from the Pacific into the Baltic Sea.
May’s most searched vessel— MarineTraffic (@MarineTraffic) May 21, 2020
More than 50,000 people searched #MarineTraffic for the Russian pipe-laying vessel Akademik Cherskiy in #May, making it the most searched #vessel on our site. pic.twitter.com/4F4h4OXOGU
Russia has vowed to complete the project, originally scheduled to start delivering gas from Russia to Western Europe toward the end of 2019.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the pipeline could be launched by late 2020 or early next year, as two Russian-owned pipe-laying vessels may now complete the remaining 100 miles (160 km) of the project, which is led by the state-run Russian company Gazprom.
The US has long opposed the Nord Stream 2 project, a joint venture between Gazprom and five European companies, claiming it would grant Russia political leverage over Europe by increasing its dependency on Russian gas.
Pressure was allegedly imposed on a key member of the project, Germany, despite Berlin adamantly insisting that Nord Stream 2 is purely economic in nature.
President Donald Trump had also suggested Germany buy more expensive American or Israeli liquefied natural gas (LNG) instead.
In a bid to thwart the project, in December 2019 the US introduced sanctions against companies directly involved in the pipeline's construction.
The move led Swiss contractor Allseas to pull its pipelaying ships from the project on 21 December.
On 3 June US Senators introduced a new bipartisan bill, dubbed the “Protecting Europe's Energy Security Act”, that would see sanctions imposed on all companies providing certification, insurance and port facilities for Nord Stream 2-related activities.
Russia regards any sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 project as unfair competition and a violation of international law, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has underscored on numerous occasions, adding that the country’s plans on the project's implementation remain unchanged.