The last piece of pipe was welded into place on September 7, completing the construction of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline connecting Russia’s vast Yamal gas fields directly to Germany and bypassing Ukraine, the operating company said in a statement.
“On September 6, 2021, specialists on the lay-barge Fortuna welded the last pipe of the two strings of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The pipe number 200,858 will be lowered onto the seabed in German waters. As the next step, the section of the pipe coming from the German shore will be connected to the section coming from the Danish waters in a so-called above water tie-in,” the operating company said.
Reports that the completion means gas will begin flowing within days were later corrected as misleading, as a series of tests and inspections still need to be carried out. The operating company remains vague on the timing for the commencement of gas flow, but said it would start before the end of the year. Gas price initially fell by €1.9 on the announcement of the completion of the pipeline but remained at unseasonal highs of over $650 per thousand cubic metres.
“Afterwards, the required pre-commissioning activities are carried out with the goal to put the pipeline into operation before the end of this year. Nord Stream 2 will contribute to meeting long-term needs of the European energy market for gas imports, improving supply security and reliability, and providing gas under sensible economic conditions,” the operating company said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the same day that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will be completed in the next few days, but remained vague on the start of operations.
The $11bn Nord Stream 2 project is expected to double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream pipeline across the Baltic Sea and allow Russia to bypass Ukraine when piping gas to Europe.