While the clarification of the attacks on the Nord Stream pipelines seems to be progressing slowly, negotiations about another legacy of Nord Stream 2 AG are now more advanced. It sounds like a historical joke that the federal government of all people wants to buy thousands of pipes from the Russian state-owned company, which were originally intended for the completed but never commissioned Nord Stream 2 pipeline. But that's exactly how it could happen.
According to information from WELT, Robert Habeck's (Greens) Ministry of Economic Affairs is currently in contract negotiations with the so-called administrator of the now insolvent Nord Stream 2 AG. While the pipeline would have increased dependence on Russian gas supplies, the pipes are intended to ensure independence as quickly as possible through imports of liquid gas.
As WELT AM SONNTAG had already reported, the federal government wants to buy the pipes to connect a floating liquid gas terminal on Rügen to the German gas network. A connection of around 37 kilometers is planned between the liquid gas (LNG) terminal planned off Rügen and the coastal town of Lubmin. Actually, the tubes with an inner diameter of 1.20 meters are far too big for this project, but the 6000 tubes have a decisive advantage: they are already lying around unused.
According to information from WELT, it would take significantly longer to connect the planned LNG terminal if the tubes had to be manufactured and measured first. But in order to have enough gas available next winter, it has to be done as quickly as possible. The Ministry of Economic Affairs therefore not only wants to buy the tubes themselves, but is also examining the acquisition of the associated data.
These are documents, measurements and reports that are absolutely necessary for the laying of such a connection pipeline. Originally, Nord Stream 2 AG had the additional 6,000 pipes, each 18 meters long, made because the company feared that a detour would have to be made around Danish sovereign waters, but then the Danes surprisingly approved the direct route.
Now the sale of a good 3,000 of these remaining tubes and the associated data could flush money into the coffers of the insolvent Russian state-owned company. But that's exactly the problem. According to information from WELT, the Ministry of Economic Affairs wants to make sure that no money from the deal flows to Russia.
Surprisingly, sanctions do not stand in the way of business. Because the EU has not yet imposed any direct sanctions against Nord Stream 2 and the parent company Gazprom. If Russia had not unilaterally stopped supplies and if the pipelines were still intact, Russian gas supplies would still be possible. However, since 2019, well before the Russians invaded Ukraine again, US sanctions have been in place against Nord Stream 2. These were intended to prevent completion and commissioning.
However, according to information from WELT, these US sanctions no longer pose an obstacle to the purchase of the tubes from the point of view of the federal government - provided it can be ensured that no money flows to Moscow. According to WELT information in government circles, all necessary questions have been clarified with the US authorities. Now only a secure solution has to be found so that the money ends up with the Swiss trustee of the insolvent company and does not flow out.
When asked, the trustee appointed by a Swiss bankruptcy court, the company Transliq, said that "no information on business-specific issues and any transactions can be given to third parties." The Federal Ministry of Economics says it cannot comment on the ongoing process.
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Representatives of the insolvent Gazprom subsidiary made a similar statement: "We generally do not comment on commercial transactions". RWE AG, which is to build the terminal and connection on behalf of the federal government, also did not want to say anything about the existence of the tube deal.
In government circles there is another argument for the tube deal in addition to the acceleration of the LNG connection. If the state did not buy, there would probably be no other customer. The tubes would then simply remain where they were and eventually be scrapped.
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