Speaking to German media earlier this week, Lower Saxony’s Minister-President, Stephan Weil declared that Germany could never again rely on Russia for its energy needs and that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project would never materialise.
Following the start of the Russian war with Ukraine, Germany suspended the Russia-led Nord Stream 2 project in February. The pipeline had been built before the start of the war, but Nord Stream 2 was still pending full regulatory approval from Germany and an evaluation of its conformity with EU energy standards.
Weil said, “The loss of trust is so fundamental that there will never again be a situation in which a German government can rely on energy from Russia. Nord Stream 2 will never go into operation.”
While Germany, Europe’s largest economy and Russia’s largest gas customer, continued to import gas via Nord Stream until Russia shut it down earlier this month, European countries began to diversify their gas supplies with more LNG cargoes from the United States and more supplies from Norway and North Africa.
Early in September, following a three-day suspension of the flows, Russia’s largest gas company, Gazprom, said that Nord Stream would be shut down permanently and attributed this to Western sanctions. Putin said last week that Russia had nothing to do with the energy crisis in Europe and that if the continent wanted more gas, it only needed to “push the button” on Nord Stream 2 and “everything will get going,” which entails lifting the project’s sanctions.
The current natural gas and energy crisis, which has caused the German economy to be in recession, will worsen as the country approaches the winter months, according to the Bundesbank, the country’s central bank, in its monthly report released on Monday.