Russia's Gazprom is successfully closing the year 2019 with three landmark breakthroughs.
First of all, October 30 saw a package of documents to finalize the Nord Stream 2 project completed: a positive resolution was received from the Danish authorities for the construction of the system's 147 km long offshore section, which will help Germany get Russian gas via the new transbaltic route.
Secondly, on October 29, Gazprom announced that the line section of the Power of Siberia gas pipeline was prepared for the start of Russian gas supply to China. "The gas from the Chayandinskoye field in Yakutia has reached the near-border gas metering station in the proximity of Blagoveshchensk," Gazprom stated. Now the company will have to fill the trans-border Amur river crossing with raw stuff to become the last stage of preparations for the upcoming gas supplies to China scheduled for December this year. Which fully conforms to the initial schedule. It is critical to underscore that the Power of Siberia is Gazprom's largest investment project over the entire history of its existence of. In 2014, its overall estimate was assessed at about $55 billion.
Thirdly, the filling of the first string of the Turkish Stream sea section began on October 18. After these tests, it will be possible to start launching the gas pipeline – Turkey will receive new volumes of gas in January or even earlier. The second string of the system is a transit one. On October 22, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Russia would begin gas supplies via the Turkish Stream to Bulgaria on January 1, 2020 and to Serbia – later the same year. The installation of the 11 km long section of the pipeline at the Turkish-Bulgarian border has already been accomplished, which will allow supplying gas to Bulgaria starting January 1 next year.
Thus, all of Gazprom's three gas systems will be put into service by the end of 2019, as originally planned. And even if they fail to be immediately brought to the target pumping levels, the presence of such a powerful new gas transport infrastructure, particularly in the Western direction, reduces the chances of Ukrainian transit blackmailing to zero. Gazprom's strategic goal of "bypassing" the Ukrainian territory will be generally achieved in a few months already.
And the December activation of the Power of Siberia project will suggest that the Russian holding has implemented the concept of piped gas supply "greater diversification" – in the East-West format. Gazprom has long sought to ensure that the European market is not the only one in its export gas-supplying strategy.
Thus, despite the sanction pressure, attempts to actively promote the "molecules of US freedom" (American liquefied natural gas/LNG in the European market) and the resistance of a number of political opponents, the Russian company has, in fact, successfully coped with all the infrastructure mega-projects on time. Which points to the high demand for Russian blue-sky fuel. And which encourages rapid growth of the gas group's market value. Gazprom's capitalization on the Moscow stock exchange has been demonstrating steady growth in recent months – the cost of the holding's securities has now attained at least ten-years-old peaks. The 2019 completion of capital-intensive designs' pool will let the company behave more generously in its dividend policy – financial resources can now be enthusiastically given to shareholders, especially to the state being the controlling one.