The threat to Russia was clear. If there is an attack on Ukraine, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will not be put into operation under any circumstances, it was announced US Department recently. This contradicted the original view of the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), who regarded the pipeline as a private-sector project and left the decision to put it into operation to the German Federal Network Agency.
Nord Stream 2 is just another pipeline that will allow Russian gas to flow to Germany, so that German companies, households and power plants, among others, can be supplied with much-needed energy. 55 percent of German gas imports currently come from Russia, 30 percent from Norway and 13 percent from the Netherlands. Germany is more dependent on Russian gas than ever after it decided to abandon coal and nuclear power. Added to that Germany’s largest gas storage facility belongs to a subsidiary of Gazprom, which thus controls a total of up to 25 percent of German storage capacities.
In this sense, it is in everyone’s fundamental interest that the situation remains calm. Whereby the French President Emmanuel Macron sensibly relies on de-escalation and the talks with the Russian President Wladimir Putin seeks. Russian foreign policy has been strictly denying any war ambitions for months and has vehemently opposed such insinuations, including the Russian ambassador Dmitry Liubinsky in an exxpress interview that attracted a lot of interest.
It’s actually hard to believe that Russia is invading Ukraine. You can think a lot about Putin, but he is by no means stupid. After all, anyone looking back over the past few years will hardly find a strategic mistake in Russian foreign policy. But back to Nord Stream 2: For decades – even during the Cold War – Russia supplied gas as per contract, and the country is currently complying with its supply contracts. And the dependency on Russia’s gas is greater than ever due to the somewhat haphazard energy transition. It is now a fact that heating with gas has become more expensive by an average of 54 percent. In addition, gas is the third most important energy carrier.
A change is not in sight. The German Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) would like to set up around 17,000 wind turbines by 2030. That is two percent of the country’s area. Today there are wind turbines on 0.5 percent of the country’s area. This quadrupling of the wind power areas within eight years, thought up by Habeck, can currently only be described as a mind game. Because recently it became known that the cast iron parts required for production could not be produced due to fully utilized capacities.
The German energy transition is thus faltering and will probably be dependent on Russian gas and nuclear power from other countries for the next few years. This affects the whole of Europe. This creates a supply shortage and energy prices skyrocket. Austria is also feeling the effects.
Europe is still Russia’s most important gas export market with about 200 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Nord Stream 2 has a capacity of 55 billion cubic meters.
Irrespective of this, Russia has massively expanded its supply capacities to Asia in recent years. At the end of 2019, the “Strength of Siberia” project was put into operation. For 30 years, the Russians will pump 38 billion cubic meters of gas to China, the contract volume is around 363 billion euros. Other projects are currently being implemented.
With all understanding to use Nord Stream 2 as a means of pressure, the question remains as to who could replace the Russian gas supplies. No one has ever been able to explain that to people. That liquid gas tankers from the USA are a substitute for the billions of cubic meters of natural gas from Russia does not sound very convincing. Because what people primarily want is for the apartments to be warm, for the businesses to run and for economic growth to start properly again after the corona pandemic.
According to a recent Civey survey 47 percent of Germans think it is right to use Nord Stream 2 as a means of sanctions. However, 67 percent are in favor of one Installation. One of the reasons why Olaf Scholz is currently in a quandary and is hoping that everything will be peaceful in Ukraine. Germany’s military aid to the Ukraine in the form of 5,000 soldiers’ helmets cannot express this dilemma better.