Nord Stream Pipeline : A Geopolitical weapon – UPSC

Context: Nord Stream project is being opposed by Ukraine, US and most of European countries (except Austria, Germany, Hungary, and the Netherlands).
Why the Nord Stream 2 project is important for Germany?
  • It provides energy security for Germany.
  • According to data from 2015, Germany has only around 10% of its natural gas resources from its own gas fields.
  • Germany has set out a plan to shut down its nuclear and coal power plants, with the objective of gradually moving towards renewable sources of energy.
  • There is an energy crisis in Europe, whereby wholesale energy prices have more than doubled in 2021, and there is a limited supply of fossil fuels altogether
  • Apart from Nord Stream 2 project, Germany has plans to build its first LNG terminal to receive gas from Qatar, the U.S., and others.
Opposition of Nord Stream 2 project:
  • US’s concern: The pipeline would give Russia more influence over Europe’s energy supply and reduce its own share in the European market for American liquefied natural gas (LNG).
  • Nord Stream as a political weapon: They opine that Russia is trying to use Nord Stream 2 as a political weapon to put pressure on European security and ‘undermine the democratic resilience of European institutions.
  • Europe’s Concern:
    • Russia has been blamed for the EU’s energy crisis. They opine that Russia had intentionally decreased its gas supplies to Europe, aiming to speed up the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline by European Union (EU) market regulators.
    • However, Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed these concerns, saying that ‘Nord Stream 2 is purely a commercial project.

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