“The objective side of the matter is that Europe is interested in receiving Russian gas. I think that the project will be implemented,” Putin said at a press conference following talks with the President of Finland.
Putin emphasized however that it is theoretically possible “to imagine a situation where the United States will convince Europe to replace Russian gas with American gas.”
“If now they convince Europeans that they should buy gas from them at higher prices, then this will be the choice of Europeans. The next step will be subsidizing a non-competitive product in the European market from state budgets. Theoretically, we can imagine this,” the Russian President said.
Gazprom’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, built together with a consortium of European companies, is expected to come into service at the end of 2019. The pipeline is set to run from the Russian coast along the Baltic Sea bed to the German shore. It will go through the exclusive economic zones and territorial waters of five countries – Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany, thus bypassing transit countries of Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and other Eastern European and Baltic states. The total cost of the project has been estimated at around $11 billion. On August 16, Gazprom reported that 73.6% of the pipeline is finished.
Washington openly opposes the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and is taking effort to block this project, including threatening sanctions on all companies involved. The 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) envisages a possibility of using unilateral restrictions against companies participating in the implementation of the Nord Stream-2 project. The U.S. Congress is drafting at least one more bill on measures concerning the construction of the pipeline.