Gazprom chairman says Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to be finished this year despite U.S. pressure - TASS

FILE PHOTO: A road sign directs traffic towards the Nord Stream 2 gas line landfall facility entrance in Lubmin, Germany, September 10, 2020. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The chairman of Russian gas producer Gazprom’s board was cited by the TASS news agency on Friday as saying that construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany would be completed this year despite U.S. opposition to the project.

The United States said this week that sanctions against the pipeline were a real possibility. The project, led by Gazprom with its Western partners, aims to deliver Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

Washington has said the pipeline would dangerously increase Moscow’s regional clout. The pipeline would also bypass Ukraine, likely depriving it of lucrative transit revenues at a time when Kyiv is locked in a confrontation with Moscow.

On Friday, Viktor Zubkov, Gazprom’s board chairman, said that work on Nord Stream 2 was already 90 to 92% complete, TASS reported.

“Work is under way actively, there’s a very small amount left,” Zubkov was quoted as saying. “Of course it will be finished this year, definitely. The lost time is a shame, but that’s what happened.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday he had told his German counterpart that sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline were a real possibility and there was “no ambiguity” in American opposition to its construction.

Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Andrew Osborn