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The deputy prime minister stopped short of specifying an exact month.
The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline bypassing Ukraine will start operating in mid-2020, said Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak. “In the middle of next year,” Kozak said, answering the question on when the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline would start operating, European Pravda reports with reference to TASS. The official stopped short of specifying the exact month. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak previously reported that gas supplies through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline could begin in the coming months, possibly even before the end of 2019.
At the same time, experts with the Ukrainian Information Resistance OSINT group say that the launch of the Nord Stream 2 at full capacity will happen even later, noting several reasons for this, according to Apostrophe. Firstly, the pipe-laying vessel is not Russian, and therefore is able to lay a maximum of 3 km of pipes per day, which theoretically allows laying the remaining 147 kilometers in about 50 days. However, weather conditions also affect the work, besides, the pipe is yet to be connected to the infrastructure and tested.
Dmitry Kozak, experts stress, did not indicate how exactly the pipeline will start operating in mid-2020 – in test mode or at full capacity, and in which month gas supplies would begin. He “did not say this because he is aware of the fact that earlier than September-October, the probability is minimal, rather it will be 2021,” the report says. The launch date for Nord Stream 2 may also be affected by other factors in Europe. Despite the fact that the operator received a permit from the Danish Energy Agency, it has not yet entered into force. Ornithologists speak out against the gas pipeline, noting threats to breeding of rare bird species. “Thus, given that the ‘bird issues’ will be discussed at least until December 16, work on laying the remaining 147 km will begin closer to the new year, given a bit of luck,” the experts note, adding that the works might be completed in spring, but another two or three months are needed to test the pipe and do other scheduled works. Today, Nord Stream 2’s construction has been completed by 80%. The project completion deadline was officially set for the end of 2019. According to UNIAN, the U.S. Senate is calling for introducing sanctions targeting the project in the near future in order to delay the commissioning of the pipeline or even halt its construction altogether.