Geopolitical implications of Nord Stream 2
16 February 2022
Nord Stream 2 (NS2) is a natural gas pipeline that directly connects Russia to Germany, via the Baltic Sea. It was launched in 2015 by Nord Stream 2 AG, a subsidiary of the Russian state-controlled company Gazprom. It follows a similar route to the original Nord Stream pipeline that was completed in 2011 and, once operational, NS2 is expected to double the total capacity of that route to 110 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year. Nord Stream 2 AG estimates this will be enough to supply some 26 million European households and has described the pipeline as essential to enhancing “the EU’s security of supply of natural gas” (PDF). Construction on the pipeline began in 2018 but it has been delayed due to protracted legal battles and the imposition of US sanctions against companies working on the project in 2019. After nearly five years, and at a reported cost of $11 billion, the pipeline was eventually finished in September 2021. In the light of the looming Ukraine-Russia crisis, this briefing summarises the issues surrounding Nord Stream 2 and its future.