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Natural gas is flowing on the Nord Stream 2 (NS2) pipeline that runs from Russia to Germanya after the final section of the system was tied together last month. Volumes are expected to ramp up as the system is commissioned Gazprom said.

NordStream 2 Map

Gazprom PJSC affiliate Nord Stream 2 AG said gas filling has started on the first string of the 5.3 Bcf/d, two-leg system that stretches 764 miles and connects the countries by undersea passage and would work toward starting commercial operations by the end of the year to move more supplies to natural gas-starved Europe.

“The string will be gradually filled to build the required inventory and pressure as a prerequisite for the later technical tests,” the company said in a statement. The first string of NS2 has already undergone pre-commissioning work to ensure pipeline integrity, the company said.

Nord Stream 2 coming on line is considered crucial for Europe after gas prices have more than tripled this year with Russia curbing additional deliveries needed to refill its depleted storage sites after a cold winter last year. Pipeline flows from Russia through the Mallnow entry point in Germany were also weak pressuring prices higher. At the same time North Sea fields are undergoing heavy maintenance after pandemic-induced delays.Gas flows from Norway dropped to their lowest point in 10 days on Tuesday

Europe has competed with Asia for liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports throughout the year. Asia has been taking record loads of liquefied natural gas to meet rising demand there and in China shortfalls from the trade war threats from China over Australia. The US has also been exporting record LNG overseas and natural gas to Mexico.

Bloomberg reported that Russian gas giant Gazprom PJSC’s CEO Alexey Miller said Europe will enter the winter in about a month without fully replenishing its buffer stockpiles.  On top of this we get political games with the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline.  Last year bitterly cold  temperatures sent LNG prices in Asia to a record in January.  The big what if is a very cold winter in Asia and Europe would likely see even more spikes in gas prices.

EU gas refill 9 2021

It remains unclear when the pipeline might actually enter commercial service as significant regulatory hurdles remain. Compliance with European Union rules requiring ownership of transmission assets and natural gas supplies to be separate. The rule could prove to be complicated for Gazprom’s integrated structure.

Source: Gazprom, Reuters

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