Russian Ship That Could Finish Nord Stream 2 Link Reaches Baltic

A Russian pipe-laying ship that could help finish the Nord Stream 2 gas link to Europe has anchored at the Baltic Sea port of Kaliningrad after sailing for three months from the Pacific.

The Akademik Cherskiy, which has changed destinations several times on its way, recentlysignaled it was set to arrive in Kaliningrad on Sunday, tanker tracking data show. Late last year, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak mentioned that vessel as an option to complete the pipeline that will bring Russian gas to Germany via the Baltic Sea.

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The pipeline, one of the key export projects for Russia’sGazprom PJSC, was just weeks away from completion when U.S. sanctionsstopped work last year. There’s a small section in Denmark’s waters still to be completed.

Even as the U.S. imposed a ban on completion of construction, Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexey Miller said Russia has the means to build the remaining section on its own, without specifying how. It’s not clear whether the Akademik Cherskiy is part of the solution. Novak said last year exports via the link would startby end-2020.

The line would feed as much as 55 billion cubic meters per year of natural gas from fields in Siberia directly into Germany, circumventing the current main transport corridor through Ukraine. U.S. President Donald Trump has said Europe should cut its reliance on Russian gas and instead buy liquefied fuel from America.

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