Nord Stream 2 says Fortuna vessel working on final stage of project

Workers are seen at the construction site of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, near the town of Kingisepp, Leningrad region, Russia, June 5, 2019. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

MOSCOW, Aug 18 (Reuters) - The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline construction is 99% complete, the operating company said on Wednesday, after a media report the Russian-led project, which has come under criticism from the United States, is expected to be finished on Aug. 23.

Natural gas prices in Europe fell sharply following the report.

Deutsche Welle news outlet reported, without providing sources, that the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is set to be completed on August 23.

Swiss-based Nord Stream 2 AG declined to give a possible completion date but said the Russian Fortuna pipe-laying vessel was working on the final part of the pipeline construction.

It referred Reuters to a Handelsblatt business daily interview last month with its chief executive officer Matthias Warnig who said the pipeline, which will bring Russian gas to Germany, should be finished in late August and enter service this year. read more

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are due to meet in Moscow on Friday and most likely will discuss the pipeline, which Washington says will increase European reliance on Russian gas.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Philippa Fletcher

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.