16:11 Nov. 22, 2016
European Commission accepted increasing the OPAL capacity, so there might be no need to build the Nord Stream II, says the Polish minister
Russia might abandon its project of the Nord Stream II, considering the recent Brussels decision on the OPAL pipeline, the Polish foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski claimed, the UNIAN agency reports on Tuesday.
In late October, the European Commission approved increasing the OPAL capacity to 80%, as it was being exploited only at its half-strength. The pipeline runs from the German Baltic shores down to the Czech Republic borders, also distributing gas to Poland and surrounding countries.
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"Building a second North Stream gas line might turn out unnecessary. The Nord Stream I transporting capacity will be increased, and gas will be transported to the Southern Europe countries via the OPAL pipeline. Considering this, the Russians may refuse from building a second stream, exploiting the existing Nord Stream I and OPAL capacities," the minister told.
Increasing the OPAL output would increase Europe dependence on Russian gas imports, which is contradictory to the EU policy of diversifying its energy market, however, it will help avoid building a Nord Stream II, the Polish minister says.
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The Nord Stream, a Russia-Germany two-line gas pipeline on the bottom of the Baltic Sea, was put into full-scale exploitation in 2012. Approximately 20% of Russia's gas exports is being transported via it.
In 2016, the Nord Stream II, a Russian-German-Dutch-Austrian project of building an additional two-line gas pipeline in the Baltic waters, was launched. Opposed by many regional countries, including Poland, it reportedly contradicts the EU legislation and is threatens to deprive Ukraine of its lucrative transition country status for Russian gas exports to Europe.