| October 5, 2018

The 8th St. Petersburg International Gas Forum took place last week in the Russian northern capital, providing a platform for substantive dialogue between leaders of gas industry, government and industry experts. The forum is a unique gas industry event in Russia: besides an extensive exhibition programme, it gives a wide opportunity for open and frank discussion of the most acute and pressing issues facing the development of the natural gas market.

One of the most important issues discussed was that of international co-operation in projects for transportation and use of natural gas.

One topic for discussion was the need for Nord Stream 2, a pipeline being developed to supply Russian natural gas to the EU market through the Baltic Sea.

The pipeline project is surrounded by controversy and sharp disputes in Europe.

The USA is in strong opposition to this project and is threatening the EU with sanctions if it goes ahead, whilst at the same time trying to push Europe to use LNG instead, which a much more expensive option than gas from Russia.

Key among the speakers was GAZPROM Chairman A. Miller, who addressed the forum on the subject of the need for Nord Stream 2.

“As you know, in 2017 the volume of gas supply to the European market reached 194.4 billion cubic metres,” the chairman of GAZPROM told the conference.  “This figure indicates 8.4% growth in comparison to 2016, which indicates that in 2018 we will strike a new record of gas supply to the European market.”

“But here we must note a few points. First, the absolute volume of supply will be higher than 200 billion cubic metres gas,” said Miller.

“What does it mean? This means that we will approach closely or probably reach the point of 205 billion cubic meters of gas supply to Europe.  This will fit maximum yearly contract volumes for all our contracts of supplies to the European market. We see the demand for the Russian gas is growing further.”

Nord Stream 2 is designed to deliver a reliable and economic energy infrastructure and provide security of gas supply to the European transmission network.

It will provide industries and households in Europe with an additional, secure and sustainable supply route for natural gas.

According to Miller: “The question is of demand for some gas transportation routes, in particular the Baltic Sea – Nord Stream project. During the last 12 months the load of Nord Stream became 7% higher than the planned project capacity”. Miller reminded to the audience that “the project capacity of the pipeline is 55 billion cubic meters, but its technological possibilities allow us to export a little more”. During the last 12 months, he continued, “we supplied to Europe 59 billion cubic metres. That means that the Nord Stream as an export gas transportation route from Russia was in demand for more than 100%.  All the existing capacities are being explored far beyond the projected ones.”

The growing economy of Europe is obviously in need of additional quantities of natural gas, EU regulations demand multiple sources for energy resources. But the words of GAZPROM chairman once again prove that Europe can’t continue its normal development without Russian gas. This is the answer to the question: “Do we need the Nord Stream 2?” said Miller in conclusion.


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