Russia and Germany Complete Gas Pipeline Link 5
Russia and Germany have completed their 760-mile undersea natural gas pipeline link, the consortium behind it—Nord Stream—announced May 5. The pipeline is scheduled to begin pumping gas in the autumn. In the meantime, the two countries will begin work on a second pipeline. When both pipelines are
by May Young Thursday, May 12, 2011
When both pipelines are running, they will be able to pump 1.9 trillion cubic feet of gas, enough for 26 million homes, says Nord Stream.
Poland and the Baltic states opposed the project. Historically, increased cooperation between Russia and Germany is never good for Poland—it usually gets invaded shortly afterward.
Germany, however, has worked hard to make it work. Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is chairman of Nord Stream.
The project gives more power to both Russia and Germany. Russia can cut off gas to Eastern Europe while still pumping gas to Western Europe through Germany. This means it can bring Eastern Europe to heel without antagonizing the west.
Germany, meanwhile, will be able to control Western Europe’s gas supplies. As we wrote in May 2007:
German strategists realize that once the pipeline is complete, they will hold the same gas supply trump card over downstream countries that Russia holds over many Eastern European countries. …
The world has witnessed how Russia used control of gas supplies to extract political and economic concessions from the Ukraine, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Georgia and Armenia. Is it so inconceivable that Germany, Russia’s old pre-World War ii collaborator, would ever seek to do the same?
Meanwhile, Europe’s anti-nuclear reaction to Japan’s earthquake is playing right into the hands of Russia and Germany. If nuclear power plants begin shutting down across the Continent, Europe will have to produce its energy using another fuel. Natural gas seems the most likely alternative—meaning that Europe’s imports of Russian gas will only go up in the future.
Germany and Russia have worked together to maximize the power they each can gain through controlling Europe’s natural gas supplies. Watch for them to use this power in the future.
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