REUTERS

The new German government headed by a new chancellor who will replace Angela Merkel in September after the federal elections may freeze the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

"Even more encouragingly, the third of Germany's left-of-center parties, the Greens, has found its moral and geostrategic compass. Its leaders, Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, are demanding a stop to Nord Stream 2. Among Merkel's own Christian Democrats and the smaller Free Democrats, there are also stirrings against it," Bloomberg reported.

But she [Merkel] also knows that this partnership will last only until the federal election in September. At that point she will retire and a new government takes over. In the most likely scenario, the Christian Democrats will stay in power, but this time in partnership with the Greens.

"And at some opportune moment, she knows, a new conservative-Green government could then announce the obvious: that this pipeline should never have been built, and will never contain anything but air," the publication said.

Nord Stream 2: Background

The Nord Stream 2 project envisages the construction and operation of two gas pipeline branches with a total throughput capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year from the coast of Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany. It should connect Russia's Ust-Lug and Germany's Greifswald. This new pipeline bypassing Ukraine is to be built next to the existing Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

Read alsoUkraine not to buy gas directly from Russia – PM ShmyhalThe construction of the pipeline was expected to be completed before the end of 2019.

The pipeline will be 1,220 km long. The project is being implemented by Russia's Gazprom in alliance with European companies – ENGIE, OMV, Royal Dutch Shell, Uniper, and Wintershall. Ukraine stands against the construction of Nord Stream 2 as it will most likely lose its status of a gas transit country, while its potential revenue losses are estimated at US$3 billion annually. The project is also highly criticized by the U.S., Poland, and the Baltic States.

According to media reports, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden intends to do his best to prevent the construction of Nord Stream 2.

On November 4, 2020, the media reported that U.S. Congress wanted to expand sanctions against Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream.

On December 4, 2020, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he doubted that the U.S. position on Nord Stream 2 would change after Joe Biden's inauguration.

Read alsoTo support Ukraine: U.S. State Dep. explains new sanctions against Nord Stream 2On December 6, 2020, United States Charge d'Affaires to Germany Robin Quinville called on the EU and Germany to declare a moratorium on the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

On December 9, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with expanded restrictions against the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

On December 11, 2020, the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline resumed.

Germany's federal maritime regulator BSH says the construction work on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline could be stopped for an indefinite period in German waters but opponents still need to give detailed reasons to justify the halt.

On February 7, 2021, the Nord Stream 2 operator announced the start of pipe-laying in Danish waters.