MOSCOW, May 20 (Reuters) - Russian gas giant Gazprom said on Thursday completion of the politically-charged Nord Stream 2 undersea gas pipeline depended on “many factors”, following the sanctions waiver from the United States.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration waived sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG and its chief executive earlier this week as the U.S. seeks to rebuild ties with Germany, after relations deteriorated under Republican former President Donald Trump.
The pipeline from Russia to Germany on the bed of the Baltic Sea is more than 95% complete. The pipeline was initially expected to be operational in the first half of 2020, before Trump introduced sanctions in December 2019.
Russian officials have been adamant that the pipeline, designed to bypass Moscow’s political foe, Ukraine, would be completed despite Washington’s sanctions.
Elena Burmistrova, the head of Gazprom’s exporting arm, said on Thursday the new timings depend on many factors, including weather.
The pipeline would double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream link to 110 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year, more than half Russia’s exports to Europe.
Burmistrova reiterated that Gazprom expects its gas exports to Europe to be 175-183 bcm this year with the price averaging above $200 per 1,000 cubic metres.
The sanctions waiver drew a rebuke from Poland, which said it threatens energy security in central and eastern Europe.
The Gazprom manager said that the company has been in talks on a new gas deal with Poland despite the tensions. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Oksana Kobzeva; editing by Barbara Lewis)