The general manager of state-run Russian energy company Gazprom Exports, Elena Burmistrova, said at the ninth European Natural Gas Conference in Vienna that the two-pipeline Northern Stream project does not require any financial support and will not cost the European Union anything. Burmistrova provided details regarding the two underwater pipelines that will carry 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.
Burmistrova said Europe will need more natural gas in the future, and since prices have dropped more than expected, the competition in the market has become fiercer. Currently, Gazprom supplies 25 to 30 percent of Europe's gas demand, and with the Northern Stream-2 project, this will be secured, as more countries in Central and Eastern Europe will be able to receive Russian gas. "Since we will be using the same design as the previous Northern Stream line, we will not need months to design it. Currently, large energy companies support the project, which means we won't require any financial support from the EU. All financial matters are being discussed and resolved together with our partners," Burmistrova said.
Gazprom CEO Viktor Zubkov also stressed that the project will be beneficial for Europeans. Once it is implemented, Russia can sell gas to Europe at better prices. "Not only Russia but other gas providers should also decide on the role they want to play in the middle- and long-term with their relations with the EU. We will always be a reliable resource for Europe; however, we need to establish a common dialogue," Zubkov said.
The official contract was signed between Gazprom, the German companies E.ON and BASF and the Austrian based OMV last September. However, Eastern European countries such as Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine are objecting to the project, as they don't want to lose the $3 billion in transit fees they receive.
Seven countries, including Poland and Slovakia, submitted a letter to the European Council President Donald Tusk on Nov. 26, requesting that the issue of the Northern Stream-2 Project is added to the agenda of the EU summit to be held next month. While Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Romania and Hungary signed the letter, Greece, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic did not.
The latest development in this regard was Polish President Andrzej Duda's statement that the project will impair Europe's energy security.
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