German Chancellor Angela Merkel has frequently been criticized for her 'realpolitik' decision to embrace the 'Nord Stream 2'. As Tom Luongo quipped back in July, "no single project has caused more wailing and gnashing of teeth than Nordstream 2. And since Nordstream 2 is simply the substitute for South Stream, which was supposed to come across the Black Sea into Bulgaria and then feed eastern Europe, this U.S. opposition to another Russian pipeline spans multiple administrations." Despite obstacles created by US sanctions on Russia, the Gazprom-led gas-pipeline project is on the verge of completion.
Merkel has defended NordStream as a necessity to secure adequate fossil fuel supplies, even as Germany and its European allies work toward a 'fossil fuel-free' future. In 2017, Germany used up a record 53 billion cubic meters of Russian gas, comprising about 40 percent of Germany's total gas consumption. Nord Stream 2's delivery system is designed to carry up to 55 billion cubic meters (1.942 trillion cubic feet) of gas per year.
Berlin and Moscow agreed on the 1,200-kilometer (746-mile) route connecting the Ust-Luga area near Saint Petersburg with Greifswald in northeastern Germany. The pipes would run across the Baltic Sea, for the most part following the route of the pre-existing Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which became operational in 2011.