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  • If youre based in Europe, like me, and you like the warm, like methen you might have noticed your heating bills going up by quite a bit lately.

  • The continent is in the grip of an energy crisis caused by rising demandgas supplies that are lower than normal and a shortage of renewable power.

  • But there’s hope. The completion of this massive construction project couldin theory, help solve the issue straight away.

  • But this is no ordinary energy scheme. It’s not a power plant or hydroelectric daminstead, it’s something that at first glance seems a little more... well, basic.

  • It's, um... a pipe.

  • And yet it’s impacting millions of people, creating tensions between some of the world’s most powerful countries...

  • One of those areas of disagreement, the North Stream 2 pipeline, which we continue to believe is a threat to Europe's energy security.

  • and continuing to make global headlines.

  • Fears that growing in Europe that it could be cold winter.

  • This is how a simple pipeline became one of Europe’s most controversial construction projects.

  • Now, we know what youre thinkingwhy on Earth is The B1M doing a video on a pipe?

  • Well, there’s actually quite a bit more to it than that.

  • Nord Stream 2 is a brand new pipeline that's gonna bring an additional source of natural gas from Russia to mainland Europe via Germany.

  • Having another supply of this fuel at a time when it’s becoming ever-more scarce sounds idealbut there’s a problem.

  • It’s all built and fully plumbed in, but theyve had a bit of trouble turning on its tap, so to speak.

  • Before we get into the details, let’s rewind a bit.

  • Running parallel to the original Nord Stream line built almost a decade ago,

  • the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 stretches over 1,200 kilometers, and crosses the economic zones of five countries, making it one of the longest offshore pipelines in the world.

  • It’s formed from around 100,000 pieces in total, each weighing 24 tons.

  • Ohand there are two of themit’s a twin line.

  • Once operational, itll provide 55 billion cubic meters of gas per yearenough for 26 million homeswith the capacity to handle around a third of the EU’s future import needs.

  • Construction started in 2018 and by late 2019 it was almost done.

  • Using the world’s largest construction ship called Pioneering Spiritthe crew was laying up to three kilometers of piping every day.

  • Sections were welded and tested on board before being added to the main pipe and then lowered down to the seabed.

  • It was also built in stages, which meant several connections had to be made at sea

  • Now, to avoid water flooding into the pipe, some sections had to be lifted back out and connected on the surface in a process that’s imaginatively called anabove water tie-in’.

  • But some of the most impressive work was done back on land, particularly at the German end.

  • Here, two 700-meter micro tunnels were constructedconnecting the receiving station to the pipeline as it nears the shore.

  • This involved digging an entry shaft at the station and dropping a tunnel boring machine inside.

  • That then burrowed towards the water, laying pieces of pipe as it went.

  • Once under the seabed, the machine was dug out and removed before the land and sea pipe sections were connected.

  • Over on the Russian side, Nord Stream 2 only had to go a few kilometers inland to connect to an existing pipeline that brings in gas from the Arctic Yamal fields.

  • This all means that Nord Stream 2 is considerably shorter overall than the current pipeline that goes from Russia to Germany through Ukraineand the so-called Central Corridor.

  • It’s the new route thoughwhere all the controversy is.

  • It might be a shortcut, but it also bypasses Ukraine.

  • That's a country that has been in conflict with Russia since 2014.

  • Russian troops moved in swiftly to take control military bases in Crimea.

  • But the first shots in Moscow's occupation of Crimea have already been fired.

  • ...what America's officially calling it the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

  • It's a country that relies a lot on current pipelines for income, and it's a country that's set to lose out under the new scheme if Nord Stream 2 becomes a priority line.

  • Since 2016, deliveries via Ukraine have decreased substantiallywhile gas coming through Nord Stream 1 has increased.

  • There's also fears that this could give Russia too much power and even control over the European energy system, as it would see its gas exports to Germany and the wider grid double.

  • Some critics have warned that it could be used as a "geopolitical weapon," a suggestion that Russia has denied.

  • I believe this is a weapon. I believe that it is wrong not to see that this a dangerous weaponnot only for Ukraine, but for the whole of Europe.

  • Already, over a third of the continent’s gas comes from Russia, which is financing half of the scheme through state-owned Gazprom, with five European energy firms covering the rest.

  • Concerns about Europe becoming too dependent on Russian gas is what caused that two-year delay between late 2019 and 2021, with the US threatening sanctions.

  • Other opponents of Nord Stream 2 have included Poland and other eastern EU countries.

  • However, an agreement was made between the US and Germany in July 2021 that allowed construction to finish,

  • but in November, the certification process required for the pipeline to open was halted by the German regulator.

  • Due to this unexpected setbackgas prices went up even further.

  • A new German arm of the operating company now has to be set up before final approvals are given.

  • All the while, those worries about the scale of Russia’s influence haven’t gone away.

  • For whatever might happen next, and despite the understandable opposition,

  • Nord Stream 2 is still an impressive feat of engineering that really underlines the impact construction can have on so many people’s lives.

  • Of course, many countries are currently investing in renewable energy and making big commitments to go green over the coming decadesall of which will reduce the influence of Russian fossil fuels.

  • But until we can switch off the gas for goodand with demand still increasingwere kinda stuck with it for now.

  • It might not be the answer everyone wants, but others say it’s what Europe needs for the time beingthat is once its flame is actually lit.

  • If you enjoyed this video and you wanna get more from the definitive video channel for construction, make sure youre subscribed to The B1M.

If youre based in Europe, like me, and you like the warm, like methen you might have noticed your heating bills going up by quite a bit lately.

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A1 UK nord stream pipeline gas europe pipe

The $11BN Megaproject That's Dividing Europe

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    Jeff Chiao posted on 2022/03/08
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