This is not business, this is just politics
Few expected such promptness from the new American administration. Recall that under Trump's pragmatism, pressure on the pro-Russian project was not particularly camouflaged. It was almost directly about lobbying for a project to supply American LNG to Europe.
Only business, nothing personal. But the readiness to change anger to mercy, having started a dialogue on lifting sanctions from Nord Stream 2, was immediately backed up in the United States by political, more precisely, geopolitical arguments. The main thing is “to protect the interests of Ukraine”. Actually, this is exactly what was to be expected from Biden.
So far, mostly the press reports on everything with details. For the sake of decency, the German Handelsblatt refers to sources in the American administration. And also uses some kind of camouflage.
How else to perceive this passage:
The German side must put a package solution on the negotiating table.
And what is in the package is no longer important? Conditions are being set from Washington, they are waiting for proposals that
eliminate concerns about the project.
But no one now doubts that they want to link the launch of an ambitious project, which is considered Russian only in the West and not even continental, but exclusively international in Europe, with the Ukrainian transit.
The EU now seems to be ready for anything to somehow support official Kiev, which, even after the “peacemaker” Zelenskiy came to power, cannot be suspected of any special sympathy for Moscow. But up to now, Nord Stream 2 has been defended more often in isolation from the transit topic.
Washington does not hide its desire to consolidate some kind of eternal scheme that will almost compel Russian Gazprom not to reduce the volume of transit supplies through Ukraine.
Have you counted and reconciled?
The Russian corporation remains the locomotive of the project solving the problem of gas supply to the old continent for years to come. Gazprom regularly reminds that Ukrainian transit will not last long for Europe.
Reanimation of outdated Ukrainian pipes and storage facilities will be so expensive that then really American LNG could become a competitor to Russian blue fuel.
It is unlikely that Washington just started talking about lifting sanctions and "saving Ukraine" at the same time. They also know how to count. And, most likely, they correctly assessed the alignment with gas supplies to Europe, recently announced by the Russian gas giant.
Gazprom reported that in 2020 the total export of natural gas decreased by 10% - to 179,3 billion cubic meters. At the same time, the breakdown by country has not yet been updated, but it is easy to calculate that a little more than 50 billion cubic meters came to Germany, about 20 billion to Italy, no more than 15 billion to Austria, and about 15 billion to Turkey.
Let us recall that the throughput capacity of Nord Stream 2, like the first, is 55 billion cubic meters per year. At the same time, at least 40 billion cubic meters should be supplied under the contract on transit through the Ukrainian gas transportation system. The capacity of the Turkish Stream is 32 billion cubic meters, the Yamal-Europe pipeline - almost 33 billion.
In total, this amounts to no more than 160 billion cubic meters, and about 7 million tons of LNG - liquefied gas, equivalent to 10 billion cubic meters, are transported by tankers. In the event that European demand for gas begins to recover, Nord Stream 2 will be needed just like air.
American LNG cannot close the hole, but problems with old Ukrainian pipes, as well as with the same Yamal-Europe gas pipeline, are still possible. Yes, so far not so much can be requested from Gazprom, no more than 15-20 billion cubic meters per year, but even Washington is able to look into the future.
This familiar map of gas flows to Europe is literally out of date. Infographics: "Arguments and Facts"
There are not many comments on the topic yet, but enough. At the same time, while it is customary for the official representatives of Russian departments in the West to blame for blatant propaganda, in our country they regularly catch opponents for illiteracy, ignorance of the subject and lack of logic.
Jennifer Psaki has been especially fond of journalists, and not only Russian ones, in this regard since the time of Barack Obama. She was once an official representative of the US State Department, and for Joseph Biden she became the press secretary of the White House.
But these days, reservations, and clearly not pathological, were made not by her - the "American Peskovs of the female gender", but by two other talking heads.
To begin with, the official representative of the German government Steffen Seibert, reporting on the telephone conversation between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Joe Biden, for some reason missed, but rather omitted an important detail. Seibert decided to limit himself to the phrase about the readiness of leaders
cooperate in overcoming international challenges.
The online format, which is now fashionable due to the pandemic, did not allow to hear outcries from the journalists who joined the briefing, which are now being replicated on social networks and various network channels. After all, the Chancellor and the President were talking, almost first of all, about Nord Stream 2.
Following his German counterpart, the current representative of the US State Department, Ned Price, tried to sort out the gas topic - doesn't it, he has a very characteristic business name. So, he called sanctions only one of the ways
influence on the situation around the construction of the gas pipeline.
Price also decided to clarify that the United States has the right to convince allies and partners that Nord Stream 2 is an unprofitable project for them. But he somehow missed that it is precisely the sanctions that can make the gas pipeline, so needed by Europe, unprofitable.
And finally, there was one more reservation - the gas pipeline, according to the State Department experts, voiced by Price, would be a blow to Ukraine. Did you really think otherwise? Gazprom may indeed have reserves in order not to depend so much on Ukrainian transit.
Now the pragmatic Germans seem to have to separate the flies from the cutlets, but now is clearly not the time. Now everything is decided by the notorious information background. And it has been negative for several years around the second Nord Stream.
At the same time, Berlin seems to have realized long ago that they had inappropriately gotten themselves into trouble with Navalny, and now they have little idea of how, keeping face, continue to fight off attacks on Nord Stream-2. But from Washington, by all indications, the Germans decided to help a little in this.