Though Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is expected to be run in 2020, it is highly unlikely it can change gas prices. Likewise the construction of Nord Stream 2 pipeline faces another legal problem when Denmark’s Energy Agency requested Nord stream developer to submit the third permit application for a new route southeast of Bornholm. It caused expected negative reaction of Nord Stream AG, the company which provides construction and operation of the future pipeline.
Due to the company’s press release “in the case of a delay of the project, lack of access to competitive gas supplies will increase price levels throughout Europe. European families and industries will foot the bill of at least 20 million euros – for every day of delay”. Nord Stream Ag is owned by Gazprom, Russian gas monopoly. Therefore such strong messages are quite natural for Russian style of doing business. The next press release of Nord Stream Ag was highlighted by Russian daily Izvestia: “If the gas pipeline is built by the end of 2019 and commissioned in 2020, European families will get access to a lower cost gas source and save €8 billion per year. This will happen due to the fact that prices will decrease by 13 percent.”
It looks like Russian monopoly fully controlled by Kremlin tries to persuade European public to support Nord Stream 2 in order to gain profit and to avoid some sufficient losses. It was also stated that Russian gas will be anyway cheaper than liquefied gas which is imported to Europe now. But is that true statement?
In fact, the liquefied natural gas price significantly dropped this winter and, in April, reached $4.92 per million metric British Thermal Units (mmBTU) because of lower demand in Asia. It made Russians decrease natural gas prices to 5 mmBTU and it is not the final price. Russian gas remains more expensive because of fixed contracts, signed with European gas companies.
Secondly, Russian gas prices began decreasing in Europe before Nord Stream 2 construction started, precisely because liquefied natural gaz supplies flooded the European market and reached some countries that had been exclusively dependent on Gazprom deliveries. And new liquefied gaz terminals are expected to be started in the next few years, it will reduce average prices for natural gas even more. LNG has been coming from a number of suppliers, including the United States and South Asian countries. A mild winter in Asia caused LNG shipments to be redirected to Europe, pushing down the prices there as well. Likewise new liquefied natural gas tankers are already started shipping routes, and it affects prices too.
The prominent EU and US players of energy market have opposed the project of Nord Stream 2 pipeline, because it has clear signs of geopolitical project the aim of which is to manipulate European policy, to bypass Ukraine as transit country and to stop the new era of liquefied gas production. It is not only the tool for achieving political aims of Kremlin, but also the obstruction of fair competition in the natural gas market.