Merkel still sees Ukraine’s gas transit after N Stream-2 launch
MESEBERG, Germany, Aug 20 (PRIME) -- Ukraine should keep its role as a transit country for Russian natural gas after the launch of the Nord Stream-2 natural gas pipeline, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on August 18 in a news conference prior to a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We will speak about gas transit in the context of Ukraine. In my view, Ukraine must retain its role in the transit of gas to Europe. I am very pleased that we were able to start the negotiation process on this topic,” she said.
The Nord Stream-2 project envisages construction of two lines of a natural gas pipeline with an annual capacity of up to 55 billion cubic meters, running from the Russian shore to Germany under the Baltic Sea. Russian gas giant Gazprom will implement the project together with Germany’s E.ON and BASF, Royal Dutch Shell, Austria’s OMV, and France’s Engie.
But Putin said that transit through Ukraine should be economiñally viable if it is kept, adding that the Nord Stream-2 project is purely economic that does not block the possibility of gas transit through Ukraine.
“Together with the German partners we are working on the new natural gas pipeline Nord Stream-2. Its implementation would improve the European gas transportation system, diversify supply routes, minimize transit risks, and satisfy the growing demand for energy resources in Europe,” he said.
The energy sector is one of priorities in the Russia–Germany cooperation, as consumption of Russian gas grows constantly. This year alone, consumption in Germany grew 13%, and Russia accounts for over 30% of the German natural gas needs. Russia has always been and will remain a reliable exporter of gas to the E.U., he said.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on August 19 that Putin and Merkel had agreed that no one should politicize the Nord Stream-2 project, that the project is commercially profitable and competitive, so they have to protect it from possible uncompetitive attacks of third parties and to implement it.
The two leaders also discussed other relations of the two countries, and Putin told Merkel that he planned to continue his meetings with representatives of large German companies. Putin and Merkel also expressed concern about unpredictability of some countries and their introduction of import duties, “which may ultimately have a negative impact on the whole system of trade and economic relations,” he said.