A special pipe laying vessel, the Russian "Akademik Tscherski" has at long last arrived in the Baltic Sea, just east of Rügen, to complete the subsea construction of Nordstream 2.
Work on the more than 1200-km gas pipeline had been suspended last year in wake of sanctions imposed by the United States. The Americans had argued that Nordstream 2 would increase German / European dependency on Russian gas and, more ominously, that the Russians would exploit the new relationship for political purposes. The subtext, or unspoken motive, was that the United States was looking to Europe as a market for American LNG arriving by tanker.
The Akademik Tscherski, built in 2015 by the Chinese and Russia's only pipe-laying vessel equipped with dynamic positioning system, is operated by Gazprom. Its task is to lay the remaining 160-km of pipe in an area southeast of Denmark's Bornholm, an island northeast of Germany in the Baltic. For security reasons the ship, which embarked for the Baltic last February from the far eastern port of Nachodka, did not pass through the Suez on its way but opted for the much longer route around Africa.
A spokesman for Nordstream did not say when the Akademik Tscherski would finish its work. The lengthy delays have pushed the cost of Nordstream 2 to around $10 billion.