Nord Stream 2 project activities have resumed. On December 28, Nord Stream 2 AG announced the completion of a 2.6 km gas pipeline in Germany's exclusive economic zone in the Baltic Sea. And on January 25, the Fortuna pipe-laying barge resumed laying the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline and is working in Danish waters.
But the propaganda of US authorities' threats to companies promoting the gas pipeline's construction serves its purpose either, with several major players having opted out of the project in January. Thus, the Norwegian DNV GL company, supposed to certify the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline upon completion, quit over new US sanctions against the project. Immediately after, the Danish engineering company Rambøll withdrew for the same reason (US sanction pressure). There is also information in the media about Zurich Insurance Group's plan to escape as well. Moreover, January 20 saw Bild report the German Bilfinger SE giant's refusal to participate in the Nord Stream 2 project. Bilfinger had several contracts with Nord Stream 2 AG, one of them on the gas pipeline's security system design.
The pressure on Nord Stream 2 intensified over the second decade of January: the United States once again expanded targeted sanctions, while the European Parliament adopted resolutions on the need to block the gas pipeline's construction following the arrest of opposition leader Alexei Navalny upon his return to Russia.
So, on January 19, the US Treasury Department added the Fortuna vessel tasked with completing Nord Stream 2, to the sanctions list in compliance with the CAATSA law (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act), as well as its owner, the KVT-Rus company. Curiously, before having been included in the sanctions list, the Fortuna has already fulfilled its mission in German waters. As for the waters of Denmark, most of work will be presumably executed by the Akademik Chersky considered Russia's marine pipe-laying flagship.
Later, on January 21, the European Parliament (EP) held a session in Brussels to adopt a resolution concerning Alexei Navalny, in which they demanded to release him, to block the Nord Stream 2, and to toughen sanctions against Russia as a whole. The document's text was published by the EP press service.
Meanwhile, a specialized fund has been created in Germany's federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern that will be able to participate in the process of completing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. This was announced on January 19 by the land's Energy Minister Christian Pegel. It was last year that this important anti-sanctions initiative was first announced, and now it has been put into practice. The fund will allow German companies stop interacting directly with the Nord Stream 2 operator and stay unaffected by sanctions.
Thus, Gazprom remains active, and there is no talk of curtailing the construction of Nord Stream 2. The Russian giant's management banks upon support for the gas pipeline project with the German authorities. The German cabinet aims to launch a meaningful dialogue on Nord Stream 2 with the new American leader Joseph Biden's administration. A statement to this effect came from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
But due to the increased sanctions and political pressure against the Nord Stream 2 project, Gazprom has once again warned investors about disruption risks, as published in the latest memorandum on the company's new Eurobonds. However, this is a standard procedure. Bond placement was very successful itself, with the demand for bonds being nearly twice as much as the supply.
Bloomberg experts expect Nord Stream 2 to be completed by the first half of 2021, with the core Baltic Sea activities to be accomplished by the end of June. Last year, the Gazprom management announced the main system's commissioning in the first quarter of 2021.