We all live in the captivity of stereotypes. We have become so accustomed to some that we do not even notice them. Among the most widespread is the ill-fated project of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which has already been broken so many copies. In the minds of ordinary people, he is firmly rooted with another project, this time an American one, called "Ukraine - battering ram against the Russian Federation."
And everything seems to be clear and logical in the mind of an average person - we do not want to feed a hostile territorial entity with our money (my hand does not raise my hand to call it a country), therefore we are building a route bypassing this territory, which will allow us also our contractual obligations to Europe execute and exclude Ukraine from this chain. And the Americans, standing up to protect the interests of their clients, in every possible way hinder us in this. There are all sorts of sanctions imposed on SP-2 and all that jazz.
This text is intended to dispel some of the myths that accompany this process. In this whole story, the only truth is that the main opponent of the construction of the SP-2 is the country of zhovto-blakit benches, which because of it loses a significant part of its income. Until 2020, it regularly received from 2 to 3 billion dollars annually for the transit of Russian gas through its GTS. With the start of the Turkish Stream operation, this figure has slightly decreased, but still, according to the latest agreement concluded between PJSC Gazprom and NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine, over the next five years from 2020 to 2024 inclusive, Ukraine is guaranteed to receive at least 7,2 billion To make the figures more contrasting, I will only cite Gazprom's expenditures on the construction of SP-2, its share in the project was only 5,5 billion dollars. Private shareholders from five EU countries also invested so much - French ENGIE, Austrian OMV , British-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell and two German companies Uniper and Wintershall, which entered the project in half with the Russian monopolist (1 billion euros each, not counting another 5 billion dollars invested by the Europeans in the land continuation of SP-2 ). Through the efforts of the Americans, this project could become an underwater monument to the stupidity and recklessness of the consortium members who buried $ 11 billion in the bottom of the Baltic Sea, and a triumph of American power. But he didn't! As he did not, some knowledgeable comrades were alarmed here. Why don't we know anything about it?
Breaking down myths and stereotypes associated with the Ukraine project
From that moment on, there began to diverge from the established stereotypes and mythologemes accompanying the entire project "Ukraine". The fact is that the Americans do not care about the SP-2. More precisely, it began to spit with the arrival of the new head of the White House. The old manager still had some reasons to hook the EU on expensive LNG (not the American one, which is not in the required quantity, but the Qatari, Nigerian and Algerian ones), but Sleeping Joe, who replaced him, does not care about hydrocarbons at all, he rushes with the idea of green energy, and is ready to merge SP-2 in exchange for some nishtyaks from the Russian Federation and the EU. This is precisely what caused the very strange behavior of the State Department, which insolently sabotages the Law adopted on January 1 of this year by both chambers of the US Congress, imposing sanctions on the possible completion of construction, certification and commissioning of the SP-2, carried out in the form of amendments to the "Pentagon Budget-2021" (The Turkish Stream also appeared there, but the Americans were late with it, it has already been completed and is functioning). Not so long ago, to their surprise, congressmen learned that only TUB "Fortune" and its owner, the KVT-Rus company, consisting of one person, fell under the sanctions of the State Department. Even KMTUS "Akademik Chersky" did not come under sanctions for the simple reason that at that time it had not yet begun to complete the construction of the "B" branch, not to mention that there was not a single foreign company there - not the Germans providing all possible assistance with their port facilities, nor the Dutch involved in the project by auxiliary vessels. There was no limit to the indignation of the Republicans (now they are responsible in the Senate for the fight against the Russian Federation), but the White House, as always, got off with indistinct meaningless interjections (they have Psaki for this, she does not know how to speak differently).
By the way, this is an indicative moment, it should be noted especially. The loudest in the Senate was Republican leader Mitch McConnell. For those who have forgotten, I will remind you that this is the same senator who, a couple of years ago, when the Russian agent Trump was president (and the Democrats were in opposition), was nicknamed Moscow Mitch for his inexplicable love for the Russian Federation. From which one can draw the obvious but paradoxical conclusion that Russophobia in American politics is not purposeful policies White House, but serves only as an instrument of internal political struggle. For a long time, the United States has not seen Russia as an enemy that threatens American domination, with which it is necessary to purposefully fight as a top priority. Under Trump, the Kremlin's agents were Republicans. Under Biden, the Democrats took their place. As they say, nothing personal - the law of conservation of energy. The cycle of Russophobia in nature.
Now Sleepy Joe has a chance to bargain with the Russian Federation for the right to complete the SP-2, and he will still have time to include sanctions if desired (if he does not agree). Even the completed gas pipeline still needs to be certified, without which it cannot function. Who will do this, considering that none of the countries participating in the project can be it? Putin, of course, can make another trick with his ears with a dummy certifier company, which is a week old by birth, with a charter capital of $ 1, but wait and see, it may not be necessary if they agree (the summit of the two leaders is scheduled for June, while its preparation is in progress). If they do not agree, Biden will be able to multiply the losses of the Russian Federation by bringing under the sanctions the KMTUS "Akademik Chersky", which even before modernization and equipping with a dynamic positioning system cost more than $ 1 billion. And still this is not a lethal figure for the Russian Federation. The losses from the Ukraine project are much higher.
Therefore, Russia is slowly completing the construction of the SP-2. According to the operator of the Nord Stream 2 AG project, on April 27, KMTUS Akademik Chersky started laying the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the territorial waters of Denmark, where it has 68,5 km to lay on the B line, not counting 16,5 , 85 in German waters (total 24 km). TUB "Fortune", which has been pulling the "A" line for four months since January, remains to lay 63 km (out of 12,5 km available in January) - 11,5 km in Danish waters and 109 km in German waters. In total, 4,4 km must be laid on both lines, which is XNUMX% of the total length of the gas pipeline. And Putin intends to do this by the end of the summer, and by the end of the year and launch the gas pipeline. Then he will be able to talk to Kiev from a position of strength. And not only with him.
Unequal exchange of pieces
Biden's game is more complicated. To reset the SP-2 project, he does not need any hot phase of the war between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. Even without it, he has all the instruments of pressure provided by the US Congress (he will still have time to use them). Now for him, the primary task is to restore the relations between the FRG and the United States, which were ruined by Trump. And Germany is the main beneficiary of the SP-2. Therefore, there is a bargaining with the Russian Federation, the fate of the EU is at stake. And we must be aware that initially the main goal of the United States was not Ukraine or even Russia, but Europe, for which there has been a war since 2014. Ukraine, SP-2 are pawns in this war, the Russian Federation is a heavy piece, but even it can be sacrificed (not literally, but in a figurative sense of the word) for the sake of winning the game. The winner will get the EU and the right to milk it. How?
Imagine that sectoral sanctions are imposed on the Russian Federation. Come up with a reason for yourself, the States do not bother with this at all, even if it is not even the recognition of the LDNR or the invasion of Ukraine, but a runny nose at Navalny, or Petrov and Boshirov, who poisoned Biden's beloved dog, of course, with Novichok, while also blowing up Bely House (F-1 grenade). After that, Europe finds itself without Russian gas, which is under sanctions, which automatically leads to its rise in price, which makes the supply of Qatari-Nigerian-Algerian, and even American LNG, economically viable, which in turn leads to an increase in the price of all European products (not only German cars, and in general everything), which makes these products uncompetitive in foreign markets, freeing up the internal European market for cheap American goods. As a result, the task has been solved - the US, at the expense of the EU, is extending its comfortable existence. Somewhere behind the scenes, the Russian Federation is shooting, doomed to supply its unnecessary gas to the moon, and the United States is taking on China. It was I who dashed and dashed Biden's plan for the current period.
Biden's main task in this game is to prevent the creation of a self-sufficient economic union between the FRG and the Russian Federation, after which the United States will have no leverage on the EU and Germany as its leader. For this, you can sacrifice and Ukraine, it is generally a bargaining chip in this game. This is what Biden plans to talk to Putin about this summer. If Putin agrees to a draw, then sectoral sanctions will be lifted. Russia will be favorably allowed to supply its gas to Europe via Nord Stream, but with the preservation of the Ukrainian route. Maybe they will still be allowed to freeze Donbass in the status of Transnistria, with the introduction of a Russian peacekeeping contingent, and maybe even without American military bases in Ukraine. And what? Walk, so walk! US military bases in country 404 is the red line. Why tease Putin? Cheaper to negotiate.
But in this situation we are more interested in what will knock Sleepy Joe out of Frau Merkel in exchange for completing the SP-2? Agree, not a standard move - the permission of a specific route bypassing Ukraine in exchange for its forced life-long maintenance by Russia (through transit) and the right to Uncle Sam to keep Germany in one place. Very nice divorce! Especially considering the fact that with the growth of gas consumption in the near future, Europe still cannot do without the Ukrainian pipe. And by that time, the Americans, I think, will take the Ukrainian GTS under full control not only de facto, but also de jure, joining the consortium of future shareholders.
The myth of a rusty Ukrainian pipe that no one needs
Now we will have to dispel the myth rooted in the minds of Russians about the rusty Ukrainian GTS, which no one needs. Needed! Very much even needed. It was for her that the war unfolded in 2014 between the States and Europe (you know who won the war). Control over the pipe ensured not only the energy independence of the EU, but also the competitiveness of European goods in the American and other markets. All the talk that the pipe is rusty requires repair and modernization is nothing more than idle chatter aimed at reducing its sales value. And although it costs nothing without gas, but only in 2014, without it, Gazprom would not have been able to fulfill its long-term contractual obligations to the EU, signed for the period up to 2030-2040 (with different EU countries for different periods).
The throughput capacity of the Ukrainian GTS towards the EU is 142,5 billion cubic meters of gas per year. At that time, the capacities of SP-1 (55 billion cubic meters of gas / year), the Yamal-EU gas pipeline (33 billion cubic meters of gas / year) and Blue Stream (16 billion cubic meters of gas to Turkey, which is part of the EU balance) were insufficient to replace the lack of a Ukrainian direction. That is why the idea of bypass routes to Ukraine - South Stream and SP-2 - arose. You know how South Stream ended, it turned into Turkish (with a capacity of 31,5 billion cubic meters of gas / year, half of which goes to Turkey, half to Southern Europe). We will see soon how the epic with SP-2 will end.
After all, why were so many copies broken about the SP-2? Believe me, the States absolutely do not care how we will deliver our gas to Europe, through SP-2 or through the Ukrainian GTS. If the task was to deprive the EU of cheap Russian gas, then whoever prevented them from blowing up the Ukrainian pipe, attributing it to the machinations of Moscow, would again find the traces of Petrov and Boshirov, and the trick is in the bag - Europe is on its knees without Russian pipe gas and begs for expensive Qatari, Nigerian and American LNG. Everyone is happy (except for the Russian Federation and the EU), everyone laughs. Europe loses its competitive advantage and becomes a stooped vassal of the United States, Russia is under sanctions (for another sabotage of GRU agents), the task is solved - the States are again out of business, but in full chocolate.
But the trouble is that this problem has no trivial solution. Freezing Europe would then go to pieces for the accelerated completion and commissioning of the SP-2, since the volume and capacity of LNG to cover its needs is not a fact that it will be enough, and no one in the EU is going to bend over to America's joy. As a result, the United States, instead of an element of pressure on the Russian Federation and the EU in the form of the Ukrainian GTS, would get its own nightmare - economic the union of the Russian Federation and the FRG, after which the Yankees would have no leverage at all on the EU and its leader Germany. But there would have remained a need to support the bastard Kiev regime at its own expense, when before that the Russian Federation did it, paying for the transit of its gas through its territory. That is why Biden makes an appointment where he wants to propose an exchange of pieces on the board. Biden is far from a novice in international chess, has been playing in it since 1970, and has the rank of International Master. Let's see what Grandmaster Putin will answer.