Gazprom cancels Nord Stream pipeline extensions

Nord Stream natural gas pipelineGazprom cancels Nord Stream pipeline extensions: For the second time in as many months, Gazprom has revised its plans to extend its European pipeline network and has cancelled the proposed construction of two new branches of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline because of the “complicated” political situation. Nord Stream currently consists of two pipes with an annual capacity of 55bn m³ – enough to supply around 10% of the EU’s annual gas needs – and the construction of two more pipes (including one to the UK) would have doubled Nord Stream capacity.
At present, Nord Stream is running at around half its capacity because Gazprom is allowed only limited access to the Opal pipeline which runs through Germany to the Czech Republic. Gazprom has so far failed to secure greater access, with talks complicated by tensions between the EU and Russia over the Ukraine crisis, and in November the EU pushed back a deadline for a decision concerning Russian access to Opal until the end of January. Last year, Russia also scrapped its South Stream pipeline project over disagreements with the EU, and is now planning to build a pipeline across the Black Sea towards Turkey, bypassing Ukraine as a transit route to Europe. The Moscow Times.