TIMELINE-Nord Stream 2: the difficult birth of Russia's gas link to Germany

(A TIMELINE is a sidebar that lists in chronological order events related to a major news story.) (Updates with new events after January 27th)

May 20 (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday waived sanctions on the company behind Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany and its chief executive.

A bill passed during Donald Trump’s presidency imposed sanctions on companies involved with the nearly-completed pipeline to bring Russian gas into Europe via Germany, undermining previous gas transits via Ukraine.

Led by Russia’s Gazprom with Western partners, the pipeline, which doubles the capacity of the existing Nord Stream 1 (NS 1) link has attracted opposition in the European Union.

The United States says NS 2 increases the EU’s reliance on Russia while NS 2 supporters say the United States is seeking to increase liquefied natural gas (LNG) sales to Europe.

The following are significant moments in Nord Stream 2’s development:


November: Gazprom and Western partners look into expanding the pipeline system by a further 55 billion cubic metres at an estimated cost of 9.5 euros ($11.3 billion).


June: Gazprom, Royal Dutch Shell, E.ON, OMV, Wintershall and ENGIE agree to build the pipeline. [ ]


March: Eight EU governments object citing geopolitical reasons. [ ]


April: Financing agreements are signed.[ ]


January: Germany grants permits for construction and operation.


January: The U.S. ambassador to Germany says companies could face sanctions. [ ]

December: Swiss-Dutch company Allseas suspends pipe-laying.

Trump signs a defence policy bill including sanctions.


January.: Russia targets a start in first quarter 2021. [ ]

May: Germany’s energy regulator declines to grant a waiver of EU gas directives to the operators.

May: An EU court throws out a challenge to EU gas rules from the operators of NS 1 and NS 2.

Sept. 3: Pressure mounts on Berlin to reconsider support after the alleged nerve agent attack on Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Sept. 15: Data shows a Russian ship sailed for the supply base in Germany.

Sept. 23: The world’s largest group of shipping insurers says it will not insure vessels involved in NS 2.

Oct. 1: Denmark gives NS 2 permission to operate in Danish waters.

Oct. 7: Poland fines Gazprom more than 29 billion zlotys having launched proceedings in June.

Nov. 4: Gazprom appeals in a Polish court against the fine.

Nov. 28: NS 2 says it plans to resume finishing a 2.6 km stretch in German waters.

Dec. 3: The United States unveils a bill targeting companies and individuals helping NS 2.

Dec. 11: NS 2 says the vessel Fortuna has resumed work.

Dec. 22: The Danish Maritime Authority issues notification of pipe-laying works from Jan. 15.

Dec. 24: The Kremlin says new U.S. sanctions could complicate the completion.

Dec. 28: NS 2 says it has completed the 2.6 km section in German waters.


Jan 6: The northern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern decides to set up a foundation to help the completion of NS 2.

Jan 13: The U.S. State Department warns European companies of sanctions.

Jan 14/15: NS 2 says pipe-laying will resume in Germany on Jan. 15.

Uniper and Wintershall Dea say they did not receive any threats.

Jan 20: Trump on his last full day in office imposes sanctions on Fortuna.

Gazprom successfully places an 8-year Eurobond worth $2 billion suggesting investors see limited risks.

German environmental groups file complaints with maritime regulator BSH, effectively preventing further work in Germany for now.

Jan. 21: The European parliament passes a resolution calling for a stop to NS 2 completion in response to the arrest of Navalny in Russia.

Jan. 24: Fortuna resumes work in Danish waters.

Feb 5: Germany is sticking with its support for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline “for the time being”, Chancellor Angela Merkel said after condemning Russia’s expulsion of diplomats from Sweden, Germany and Poland.

April 22: The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced a bill to pressure companies helping to build Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

April 27: Russian vessel Akademik Cherskiy started laying pipes for the project in Danish waters.

May 19: The U.S. State Department concluded that Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO, Matthias Warnig, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, engaged in sanctionable activity. But Secretary of State Antony Blinken immediately waived those sanctions, saying that it was in the U.S. national interest.

The State Department also imposed sanctions on four Russian ships, including the Akademik Cherskiy, and imposed the measures on five other Russian entities, including the Russian Marine Rescue Service.

Reporting by Tommy Lund and Bartosz Dabrowski in Gdansk Editing by Vera Eckert and Barbara Lewis and Kirsten Donovan