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The hardships of #NordStream-2



The story of the construction of the Nord Stream-2 largely resembles a fascinating novel, which also has a mystical colouring. It seems that the energy project, which is profitable for the whole of Europe, has been going through various troubles for 4 years and faces numerous obstacles and the story can’t come to its end.  The truth remains that any economic project of Russia in the West inevitably faces serious political problems, which often lead to negative results. It is enough to recall the sad history of South stream, which was literally strangled by the EU due to the notorious contradiction with the 3rd energy package, writes Alex Ivanov, Moscow correspondent.

Nord Stream-2 is a 1,234 km long main gas pipeline under construction from Russia to Germany across the Baltic sea. It is an extension of the Nord stream gas pipeline. The pipeline passes through the exclusive economic zones and territorial waters of five countries: Denmark, Finland, Germany, Russia, and Sweden.

In terms of capacity and length, it is almost identical to the current Nord stream gas pipeline. It differs from it by the entrance point located in the Ust-Luga region on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland. It also differs in the composition of shareholders.

Along with the construction of the gas pipeline, the onshore gas transmission network is being expanded. In parallel with the existing land extension of the Nord Stream (the OPAL gas pipeline), German companies are building the Eugal gas pipeline to supply gas to the Central European gas hub near the town of Baumgarten (Austria), and on the territory of the Czech Republic with commissioning in 2019 and 2021.

The project directly or indirectly affects the interests of a wide range of countries and enterprises and has sparked debate  in media.

Pipe laying was planned to be completed no later than the fourth quarter of 2019. These plans could not be implemented due to the position of Denmark, which did not give permission for the pipeline to be laid through its exclusive economic zone. In December 2019, the construction of the underwater pipeline, at 93.5% readiness, was suspended due to US sanctions.

In October 2019, a construction permit was obtained in the exclusive economic zone of Denmark - a route extending 147 km to the South-East of Bornholm island was approved. The agreement with Denmark took more than two years. By the time this permit was obtained, all other subsea sections of the pipeline had already been built.

The head of the German Bundestag Committee on energy, Klaus Ernst recently stated that the possibility of applying to the UN is being studied because of US threats to impose sanctions on the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline.

According to him, it is unacceptable when one country, for example the United States, prescribes to another sovereign country or the sovereign European Union how to solve the issue of its own energy supply. The politician noted that this "contradicts any reasonable relationship."

Ernst also reacted to the statements of the European Commission that if the US imposes sanctions, it will be a violation of international law. "It is a violation to threaten the country's sovereignty in this way," he said.

The politician pointed out that the European Union considers such influence contrary to international law. He admitted that after applying to the UN, Germany can file complaints in the appropriate courts.

Earlier, it became known that Russia expressed solidarity with Germany around the construction of the main export gas pipeline "Nord stream-2" in the face of active opposition from the United States. Russian foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the project to build the gas pipeline is positively evaluated by all European countries that are facing "unprecedented sanctions pressure from the United States."

The US actively opposes the construction of Nord Stream-2. At the end of last year, sanctions were imposed on all companies involved in the project, after which the Swiss Allseas was forced to withdraw its pipe-laying company from the Baltic sea. In the future, the restrictions were expanded and included in the us defense budget, including insurance companies that cooperate with construction participants.

The situation around the unfinished Russian export gas pipeline "Nord stream-2" is becoming more acute, and the problems are getting bigger. The enemies and friends of the new Russian pipe laid on the bottom of the Baltic sea bypassing Ukraine are constantly raising the stakes. On the one hand, US senators threaten to use sanctions to ruin the German port city of Mukran, where the logistics center of the Pipeline project is based. On the other, Russian foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov assures his German counterpart that Russia will certainly complete the pipeline.

However, so far the construction has not moved from the point where it froze in February, when the Swiss pipe_laying company refused to work under the pressure of US sanctions. Of the two Russian vessels that were bid on, one – "Fortuna "has already been recalled by the tenants, and the second – "Akademik Chersky" has not yet started work for unknown reasons. So until now it is still unclear will Russia be able to bring the remaining 6% of the pipe unfinished to the end? There is no information yet which of vessels the Russian gas concern will use to complete the Nord Stream - 2.

Meanwhile, 24 EU countries opposed US plans to impose new sanctions on Nord Stream-2. Only three refused to share the majority opinion, writes the German newspaper Die Welt, citing sources in European diplomatic circles.

It is noted that the European delegation presented a “note of protest " to the US  Department of State during a video conference on August 12. At what level this was done, and which countries did not join the protest, is not reported.

Although it is not difficult to guess that one of them is Poland, and two more are Baltic. Estonia-exactly. Since it, in the person of its foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu, hastened to immediately declare that US sanctions against the implementation of the Nord Stream-2 project are in its interests.

Among other strong opponents of the Nord Stream-2 is certainly Poland. Some time ago Poland’s anti-monopoly watchdog UOKiK said that it had fined Russian gas titan Gazprom $57 million for “failing to cooperate in its investigation of the Nord Stream-2 pipeline project”. Along with that Warsaw has been a long-time advocate of Ukraine’s desperate efforts to preserve Russian gas export to Europe via its pipeline system. No doubt that Nord Stream-2 will seriously undermine Ukrainian export capabilities.

Despite the difficulties arising around the completion of Nord Stream-2 construction, in Moscow and Gazprom, in particular, are determined to put the project into operation in the next six months. It seems that a very favorable factor for Russia will be almost unanimous support from the EU, which is outraged by the brazen behavior of the United States in trying to prevent the project and at the same time push its expensive liquefied gas to the European market. Many analysts believe that in the near future there will be a denouement in this extremely complicated story.

Electricity interconnectivity

ElectroGasMalta has summed up its Delimar power plant project



The Electrogas consortium recently held a press conference where it announced the results of an internal audit of its company. The company said it began an "extensive internal legal and forensic review" in 2019, following the appointment of three new Directors. The audit showed that there were no signs of corruption in the project to build a gas power plant in Delimar with the participation of Siemens Projects Ventures and SOCAR Trading.

According to Energogas, the audit did not reveal any signs of any violations at the stage of bidding, construction of the power plant and operating activities of Electrogas.

Electrogas also reported that a project worth more than 500 million euros for the construction of a new 210 MW power plant and an LNG regasification terminal was implemented by ElectroGas Malta, which includes SOCAR Trading. In partnership with Siemens and local investment company GEM, it won a public tender in Malta in 2013.

It is known that the management of Electrogas changed after the resignation of shareholder Jorgen fenek.
Fenech was part of the joint venture "jam holdings", which owns 33.34% of the power plant. SOCAR Trading and Siemens Projects Ventures hold 33.34 percent each.

In 2015, ElectroGas Malta signed a contract with SOCAR giving exclusive long-term rights to supply LNG to Malta for the power plant. The first batch of LNG was delivered to the island in January 2017, thus creating the conditions for Malta to completely abandon fuel oil as a source of electricity generation. As noted earlier by the Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, this helped reduce electricity prices for the Maltese population by 25% and contributed to a 90% reduction in toxic emissions into the atmosphere.

ElectroGas Malta will also supply electricity and natural gas to the state-owned energy company Enemalta for 18 years. A project worth more than €500 million to build a new 210 MW power plant and an LNG regasification terminal in Malta with the participation of SOCAR Trading was launched in December 2014 and completed in January 2017.

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#FORATOM underlines key role of nuclear in achieving ambitious climate targets



FORATOM welcomes the European Commission’s proposal to increase its 2030 CO2 emission reduction target to at least 55%. This is essential if the EU is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.  The nuclear sector stands ready to play its part by providing a stable supply of low-carbon electricity, as well as other energy carriers (e.g. hydrogen).

In terms of decarbonizing the electricity sector, FORATOM has identified two challenges: ensuring security of supply and costs.

“It is clear that by supporting an energy mix which combines both nuclear power and variable renewables, the EU will have access to a low-carbon supply of electricity, 24/7,” said FORATOM Director General Yves Desbazeille. “Such a combination will contribute not only ensuring security of supply, but also keeping the costs of the transition to a minimum”.

According to the conclusions of an FTI-CL Energy Consulting study commissioned by FORATOM (Pathways to 2050: role of nuclear in a low-carbon Europe), Europe could save more than €440 billion between 2020 and 2050 by supporting a 25% share of nuclear in the 2050 electricity mix. Customers would save around €350bn in costs, with 90% of these savings occuring before 2035 thanks primarily to the life-time extension of existing nuclear reactors as well as the construction of new ones. Furthermore, around €90bn could also be saved in relation to the additional Transmission and Distribution grid costs needed to accommodate the new solar and wind capacity, if ever built, which would replace the lost nuclear capacity.

“It should be noted that the transition is not just about saving costs, it’s also about ensuring economic growth and jobs,” added Desbazeille. “Here nuclear plays an important role as it currently sustains more than 1 million jobs in the EU-27. By 2050, this figure could rise to 1.2 million”[1].

The European nuclear industry stands ready to play its part in helping the EU to decarbonise. To do this, EU policy must treat all technologies in the same way. As highlighted by several member states at the end of 2019, if they are to progress towards such ambitious targets then they must have the freedom to include low-carbon nuclear within their energy mix.

The European Atomic Forum (FORATOM) is the Brussels-based trade association for the nuclear energy industry in Europe. The membership of FORATOM is made up of 15 national nuclear associations and through these associations, FORATOM represents nearly 3,000 European companies working in the industry and supporting around 1,100,000 jobs.

[1] Deloitte Economic and Social Impact Report, 2019

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LUKOIL’S Oil Pavilion named world's best project for use of Virtual Reality



LUKOIL became a winner of the international IPRA Golden World Awards in four categories for the restoration of the historical Oil Pavilion at Moscow’s VDNKh. It is the largest Russian multimedia exhibition dedicated to applied science, which presents oil industry to its visitors through interactive installations.

The Oil Pavilion was awarded the status of the best global project in Gaming and virtual reality, Business-to-business, Media relations and Sponsorship categories.

This is the second LUKOIL’s IPRA Golden World Awards win; the Company received two awards last year. LUKOIL’s campaign to promote the city of Kogalym (Yugra) as a tourist centre of the West Siberia received awards as the world’s best project in Travel and tourism and Community engagement categories.

IPRA Golden World Awards (GWA) is the world’s most influential global public relations and communications competition.

IPRA GWA, established in 1990, recognizes excellence in public relations practice worldwide, taking into account such criteria as creativity, complexity of realization, and unique character of the project. World’s greatest communications and marketing experts and leaders, including representatives of the various largest enterprises, form the GWA jury.



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