Baltic, baltic ringed seal, BASF, Black Alder forests, boycott, Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea, Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, Coup d'Etat, Crimea, Deepwater Horizon, Denmark, dune, E.ON, EC, ecosystem, EIA, energy dependence, Energy Independence, Engie, EU, Europe, European Commission, European Security, France, Gazprom, GDF-Suez, Germany, gray seal, Greenpeace, Greenpeace Russia, Kurgalsky wildlife sanctuary, Latvia, Lithuania, marine protected area, Narva Gulf, Netherlands, Nord Stream, Nord Stream 2, old-growth indigenous forests, Pine, pipeline, pipeline politics, Ramsar, Ramsar Convention, Russia, Russian oil gas petroleum, sanctions, Switzerland, Trans-Mediterranean Pipeline, Transocean, UK, Ukraine, wetlands, white-trailed sea eagle, Wintershall, Zug
Russian State owned Gazprom is the majority owner at over 50% of the proposed Nord-Stream 2 gas pipeline, but Germany’s Wintershall (BASF), E.ON., and French ENGIE (GDF-Suez), and Dutch Nederlandse Gasunie are co-owners.
Ringed Seal photo, NOAA: The construction of the pipeline may affect the key habitats of rare marine mammals – the gray seal and the Baltic Ringed seal, according to Greenpeace Russia.
Nord Stream is registered in Zug, Switzerland, as is Transocean – the owner-operator of the oil rig for the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepwater_Horizon_oil_spill (Transocean is also in Vernier, Switzerland).
Being energy dependent upon Russia, or any other country, means that there is no true independence. One reason that Russian sanctions haven’t forced Russia to return Crimea to the Ukraine is that they are effectively non-existent. The US, the EU, and others, continue to import Russian oil, gas, and petroleum products, and continue to trade in Russian commodities. Exelon may use Russian nuclear fuel in Illinois (with an exemption) if not stopped. Energy-Economic dependence is the real coup d’etat. Russia already showed its power over Europe when it cut-off gas in the dead of a frigidly cold winter, in 2009. Political takeover by Russia, such as appears to be the case with Trump, and would be the case with Marine LePen, is simply the final, or next to final, step.
US Government Map dated ca 2009, or earlier, still gives an idea of the magnitude of the problem, and the appeal of a Trans-Mediterranean pipeline, especially one which is not dependent upon Russia.
Danish European Parliamentarian raises concerns to European Commission about Nord-Stream 2:
“Parliamentary questions 27 March 2017
P-002042-17 Question for written answer to the Commission Rule 130
Jeppe Kofod (S&D)
Subject: Rejection of Nord Stream 2 project on grounds of European security
As the Commission knows, there have been plans for many years to expand the existing Nord Stream gas pipeline between Russia and Europe. The project has now progressed so far that those EU countries whose territories will be crossed by the pipeline can expect a formal written request within a very few days.
I would like to remind the Commission that the construction of Nord Stream 2 will make it possible for Russia to cut off Ukraine completely from vital gas supplies, will be a massive geopolitical advantage for Russia, will increase Europe’s dependency on Russian gas and will effectively keep Europe dependent both on fossil fuels and on energy supplies from countries with which we have strained diplomatic relations, as witnessed by Russia’s current trade boycott on items, including foodstuffs, produced in Europe. This is being tabled as a priority question in view of its urgent nature.
In light of the above:
1. What measures will the Commission take to prevent this project from being realised?
2. Does the Commission agree that the project has both energy and security implications which affect European cooperation as a whole and thus transcend the Member States’ purely national spheres?
3. Does the Commission believe that Nord Stream 2 is compatible with the Energy Union’s objective of increased energy independence?
Original language of question: DA (Danish) Last update: 28 March 2017”
Pipeline Map-Nature Reserve info: http://www.ccb.se/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/7-2-Update-of-information-regarding-anthropogenic-threats-to-Kurgalskiy-Nature-Reservey_CCB.pdf
Gazprom is Russian Government owned-controlled (at approximately 50.23%). Gazprom, in turn, owns 51% of Nord Stream AG, based in Zug, Switzerland, and hence the Russian Government controls Nord Stream. While located in the heart of Europe, Switzerland is not in the EU (although under Schengen there is free movement of people.) The other shareholders are Wintershall Holding (a susidiary of German BASF) at 15.5%, PEG Instrastruktur AG, a subsidiary of (German) E.ON. at 15.5%, N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie (Dutch) at 9% and ENGIE (rebrand of French GDF-Suez) at 9% (Latest breakdown listed on their web site. Is it one of the many mailbox locations in Zug?)
“As of today the Nord Stream AG., in which OAO Gazprom holds a 51% stake, is planning to build a new pipeline via The Baltic Sea to the West… through the Kurgalsky wildlife sanctuary of Leningrad region, a unique wetland natural area of an international importance (protected by The Ramsar Convention regulations) and belongs to the marine areas subject to Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea.” http://www.greenpeace.org/russia/en/news/20-09-2012-nord-stream_kurgalsky_eng/
Based on Greenpeace Russia news article:
The [Russian] Ministry of Natural Resources proposes to cut Nord Stream 2 through the Kurgalsky reserve News – April 11, 2017
The office of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources sent environmental impact assessment (EIA) documents for the Nord Stream 2 offshore gas pipeline construction project to European countries for approval. The Ministry of Natural Resources offers to let Denmark, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Estonia, Sweden and Finland approve a document that is contrary to international and Russian legislation.
The gas pipeline route chosen by Nord Stream 2 AG passes through a unique natural territory: the Narva Gulf and pine and black alder forests in the Kurgalsky zakaznik (sanctuary-preserve). This territory is protected by two international agreements: the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) and the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea.
In the middle of the reserve, a gas pipeline with a 85-meter-wide bend would be built. In this strip two pipes would be laid and a road built. The gas pipeline would pass through the sites of old-growth indigenous forests and a unique relict dune, which would mean their destruction.
It is this option that is evaluated in the EIA [Environmental Impact Assessment] materials as “preferable”. The company believes that this will be shorter and more convenient.
This option appears to have been chosen simply because it is cheaper, according to the head of the Greenpeace Russia program for specially protected natural areas, Mikhail Kreindlin.
Directly upon the route live animals and plants listed in the federal and regional Red Books and in the Red Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The construction will destroy their habitat, which is directly prohibited by federal laws “On Environmental Protection” and “On Wildlife.”
For example, right inside the gas pipeline’s right-of-way, last year was found a nest of a white-tailed eagle – a very rare bird of prey. The nest was only fifty meters from the marked route.
In addition, in the materials of the EIA, there is no mention that the construction of the gas pipeline is directly prohibited by the regulations of the Kurgalsky reserve. So, the company will also violate the law “On Specially Protected Natural Territories”.
But the authorities of the Leningrad region are already preparing to change the regulations on the zakaznik (sanctuary-preserve). Quite recently in Kingisepp scandalous public hearings took place to change the boundaries of the reserve. Falsified documents were shown there, which later were rejected by their authors, suggesting that the protection of the reserve should be weakened.
“We must not forget that Nord Stream -2 is an international project. And even if the Russian authorities go on breaking the laws and make a decision to build a gas pipeline through the reserve, foreign partners certainly will not want to go to violations of international conventions, risking their image. So, the decision to build a gas pipeline through the Kurgalsky zakaznik may lead to a complete halt to the entire construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline,” says Mikhail Kreindlin. (Based on Google Translate of the Russian. See Russian original here: http://www.greenpeace.org/russia/ru/news/2017/04-11-kurgalsky )
“Denmark proposes law modification to block Russian gas to Europe”
April 11, 2017 – 17:01 AMT http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/237272/
The Kurgalsky nature reserve, which traverses the shallow waters of the Gulf of Finland, numerous islands, and the Kurgalsky Peninsula between Russia and Finland, is home to a great diversity of flora and fauna, supporting numerous species of threatened plants, mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles.
Despite it’s protected status, investigations conducted by Greenpeace Russia and a local NGO, Green World, have discovered drilling rigs inside the reserve. Kurgalsky is protected by two separate international conventions; one which protects wetlands, and another which protects the fragile marine ecosystem in the Baltic region.
Workers on one of the construction rigs currently operating in the Narva Bay protected area said they are involved in the Nord Stream 2 construction project on behalf of the Saint-Petersburg Museum of Soil Science, conducting soil testing for the consortium of energy companies responsible for the project. This multi-billion dollar pipeline is intended to deliver Russian gas directly to the EU.
Another rig was discovered in the forest, a few kilometres from the shore.
This kind of work is supposed to be prohibited by Russian and International agreements, signed by Russia. Greenpeace Russia has filed a request to the Prosecutor’s office in Leningrad regarding this violation of international environmental agreements.
The construction of Nord Stream 2 through Kurgalsky reserve will threaten the habitat destruction of many rare and endangered species of animals and plants, including the white-tailed sea eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla). Greenpeace experts have confirmed that nesting sites of the white-tailed sea eagle lie within 50 metres of the proposed pipeline route. Despite the risks, Nord Stream 2 AG has announced that running the pipeline through the Kurgalsky Reserve is the optimal route.
The construction of this pipeline will inevitably threaten the habitat of this and the other rare species. It is a gross violation of Russian and international environmental legislation.
As Valery Buzun, a researcher with the Department of Vertebrate Zoology at the Biological Faculty of St. Petersburg University, states, “It will not be just a pipe. There will be also be infrastructure for the pipe. The pipe itself will pass under part of Luga River with it’s islands, reed beds and meadows, home to many birds, wolves and bears. Laying pipe there will destroy this ecosystem”.
The Nord Stream 2 project will make Russian gas consumers like Germany, France, the U.K. and the Netherlands, unwitting participants in an environmental crime. They will share the responsibility for the destruction of one of the most valuable natural areas under international protection, together with the Russian authorities and Gazprom, the Russian state-owned gas producer.
Greenpeace Russia demands the compliance with Russian law and international agreements from the consortium of companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 project.
Evgeny Yusov is a spokesperson for Greenpeace Russia“. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/makingwaves/russian-gas-in-the-eu-threatens-nature-reserve/blog/57830 (Additional photos of trees, drilling rigs, etc., found at the link. Greenpeace nest photo, above, is from this link.)
More about the reserve:
Use more synthetic fleece and/or wool and less heat! In much of Europe it is rarely very cold. If heating is necessary, heat only one room in winter-time to economize energy.
Photo note: The Ringed Seal in the US NOAA photo may or may not be the Baltic subspecies.