The construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to bring Russian natural gas to the European Union kicked off in the Gulf of Finland Wednesday, the project operator Nord Stream 2 AG said.
Nord Stream 2 will expand the existing Nord Stream main gas pipeline by linking Russia and Germany via the Baltic seabed, bypassing Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and other Eastern European and Baltic countries. It is scheduled to be put into operation by the end of 2019.
Russia has obtained construction permits for Nord Stream 2 from Germany, Finland and Sweden, as the pipeline will pass through their maritime exclusive economic zones.
U.S. President Donald Trump has criticized the project, which, according to him, will increase Europe’s dependence on Russia. Moscow has retorted that Trump’s criticism was aimed at promoting sales of U.S. liquefied natural gas to Europe.
Nord Stream 2 AG was established for planning, construction and subsequent operation of the pipeline. The Switzerland-based company is owned by Russian gas giant Gazprom.